Dear Readers and Riders and Dear Marguerite Henry on a blue bedspread

Dear Readers and Riders by Marguerite Henry Book Review

Did you ever have a pen pal back in the day before laptops, iPhones, text messaging and social media? If you did, your heart probably leaped the day a letter from your faraway friend made it to your mailbox. Well Marguerite Henry, beloved author of Misty and Chincoteague, King of the Wind, Brighty of the Canyon and many other popular horse books received thousands of fan letters over the course of her career.

From what I could tell researching the life of Marguerite Henry for my book Marguerite, Misty and Me, she responded to almost all of them. And the hearts of many a young lover of horses leaped when they received a letter back from her. I know this because on my Marguerite, Misty and Me book tour, I've met scores of Henry fans who've told me they had written her letters, "And she wrote me back!"

The book Dear Readers and Riders is a book she wrote for her legions of fans, to engage with them and showcase some of the most commonly asked questions. For those enchanted by horses, who grew up devouring the works of Marguerite Henry, her book Dear Readers and Riders, is a captivating journey through some of her most beloved stories, via responses to fan mail. Rand McNally published the children’s horse book title in 1969.

Known for her ability to breathe life into horse stories, Henry reigned as queen of the horse book realm from about 1940 until her death in the mid 1990s. From the spirited adventures of a pinto pony foal loved by the Beebe family in Misty of Chincoteague to the tender moments shared between a mute orphan boy and a stallion in King of the Wind, Henry's narratives capture the horse-human relationship with unparalleled authenticity (thanks to her relentless research efforts for each book). 

As I wrote my Marguerite Henry biography Marguerite, Misty, and Me, I read and studied hundreds of sources. Dear Readers and Riders (which eventually was given a new title: Dear Marguerite Henry), provided interesting nuggets that I was not able to come up with anywhere else. For example, when Marguerite Henry went to Italy to research the crazy-wild horse race in Siena for Gaudenzia, Pride of the Palio, she met Pope John XXII! I’d love to know how she managed that!

Dear Readers and Riders serves as a portal to her creative process and real life. Prior to this book, Marguerite Henry had a series of fan newsletters. Marguerite Henry's characters leapt off the page, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of readers. Dear Readers and Riders is a must-read for fans of Misty of Chincoteague. Saddle up and embark on an unforgettable journey through time and various Henry titles on the pages of this enchanting book. After all, who can resist the call of the hoofbeat?

 

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