Marguerite Henry, the prolific, much loved Newbery Medal-winning author is best known for her horse books. In the early 1900s, the little girl from Wisconsin began writing for fun at a special writer's desk in the corner of her family's Milwaukee kitchen. Marguerite's dad was in the printing business, and her mom, a reader, subscribed to a women's magazine called The Delineator. Words were important to her from the start.
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Marguerite Henry's Writing Career
When Marguerite was a tween, her mom told her about a children's writing contest The Delineator was hosting, and encouraged her youngest to enter. Marguerite's winning entry for a story called "Hide and Seek in Autumn Leaves" was the genesis of a long and successful writing career. She won twelve dollars and used the payment to finance a trip to summer church camp in Illinois.
Flash forward to high school and college, and she wrote for the yearbook staffs. Then, in her early years of marriage while living in Chicago, she forged a career in magazine writing; on the side she helped her husband, Sidney Henry, write sales bulletins. Marguerite was 38 when her first book was published, and 94 when her last one debuted. She never retired. Here is a roundup of Marguerite Henry books. Which ones have you read?
Marguerite Henry Books in Order
1940 Auno and Tauno, Albert Whitman and Co.
1949 Dilly Dally Sally, Saalfield Publishing Co.
1941 Eight Pictured Geography, Albert Whitman and Co. (Fun Fact: Marguerite said she was paid $25 per book in this series.)
- Alaska in Story and Pictures
- Argentina in Story and Pictures
- Brazil in Story and Pictures
- Canada in Story and Pictures
- Chile in Story and Pictures
- Mexico in Story and Pictures
- Panama in Story and Pictures
- West Indies in Story and Pictures
1942 Geraldine Belinda, Platt and Munk
- What I found interesting about this book is Marguerite first wrote it in rhyming verse form. The publishers did not care for it and she had to re-write it just as a story. I read the full poem version during my research and it's totally cute!
1942 Birds at Home, M.A. Donohue & Co.
- The University of Minnesota's Kerlan Collection of Children's Literature Archive has original art from Birds at Home. The colors are still vivid. While researching for Marguerite, Misty and Me I was sad the beautiful work was stored in boxes instead of hanging in frames for bird and Marguerite Henry fans to see.
1943 Their First Igloo (co-authored with Barbara True), Albert Whitman and Co.
1944 A Boy and a Dog, Wilcox and Follett Co.
1945 The Little Fellow, John C. Winston Co.
1945 Justin Morgan Had a Horse, Wilcox and Follett Co.
- This book provided the impetus for Marguerite to seek out the best horse illustrator. She landed on two candidates. Wesley Dennis was the winner.
1945 Robert Fulton, Boy Craftsman, Bobbs-Merrill Co.
1946 Eight More Pictured Geography, Albert Whitman and Co.
- Australia in Story and Pictures
- Bahamas in Story and Pictures
- Bermuda in Story and Pictures
- British Honduras in Story and Pictures
- Dominican Republic in Story and Pictures
- Hawaii in Story and Pictures
- New Zealand in Story and Pictures
- Virgin Islands in Story and Pictures
1947 Benjamin West and his Cat Grimalkin, Bobbs-Merrill Co.
1947 Always Reddy, Whittlesey House
1947 Misty of Chincoteague, Rand McNally & Co.
- This book continues to enchant readers today. If you're a hardcore Misty fan, I think you'll enjoy my latest book Marguerite, Misty and Me: A Horse Lover's Hunt for the Hidden History of Marguerite Henry and her Chincoteague Pony.
1948 King of the Wind, Rand McNally & Co.
- Marguerite won the Newbery Medal, the highest award for children's literature for King of the Wind. When I read her follow-up, Little-or-Nothing from Nottingham, it was almost jolting. It felt as though she needed to create something short, spunky and almost silly in the wake of her serious previous literary masterpiece.
1949 Little-or-Nothing from Nottingham, Whittlesey House
1949 Sea Star, Orphan of Chincoteague, Rand McNally & Co.
- This book Marguerite referred to as a PostScript to Misty of Chincoteague. Discover more in this blog post.
1950 Born to Trot, Rand McNally & Co. This post contains a few affiliate links.
1951 Album of Horses, Rand McNally & Co.
- This was supposed to be her first horse book, but Marguerite got so sidetracked learning about the Morgan horse, she wrote Justin Morgan Had a Horse first, circling back to finalize Album of Horses years later.
1953 Brighty of the Grand Canyon, Rand McNally & Co.
1955 Album of Dogs, (Previously titled Wagging Tails) Aladdin
1956 Cinnabar, the One O'Clock Fox, Rand McNally & Co.
- Marguerite's neighbor while she lived at Mole Meadow in Wayne, Illinois, was the local huntsman for the Wayne-DuPage Hunt. He helped her understand the sport as well as the habits of foxes. She also "mothered" some orphan kits for a season.
1956 Misty, the Wonder Pony, by Misty, Herself, Rand McNally & Co.
- Marguerite "ghost wrote" on behalf of Misty.
1957 Black Gold, Rand McNally & Co.
1959 Muley-Ears, Nobody's Dog, Rand McNally & Co.
1960 Gaudenzia, Pride of the Palio (Later published as The Wildest Horse Race in the World) Rand McNally & Co.
- I nearly fell out of my chair when I discovered Marguerite met the Pope while researching this book in Italy. She certainly knew how to connect with people.
1962 All About Horses, Random House
1962 Five O'Clock Charlie, Rand McNally & Co.
1963 Stormy, Misty's Foal, Rand McNally & Co.
1964 White Stallion of Lipizza
1966 Mustang, Wild Spirit of the West, Rand McNally & Co.
1969 Dear Readers and Riders (later published as Dear Marguerite Henry), Rand McNally & Co.
1972 San Domingo, the Medicine Hat Stallion, Rand McNally & Co.
- You might know this classic by the title Peter Lundy and the Medicine Hat Stallion. And you might remember 70s teen idol Leif Garrett starred in the movie version.
1976 A Pictorial Life Story of Misty, Rand McNally & Co.
1977 One Man's Horse, Rand McNally & Co.
- This title is based on Born to Trot. Standardbred fans will adore it.
1980 The Illustrated Marguerite Henry, Rand McNally & Co.
1984 Our First Pony, Rand McNally & Co.
1992 Misty's Twilight, MacMillan
1996 Brown Sunshine of Sawdust Valley, Simon and Schuster
I had the pleasure of working with Bonnie Shields, Marguerite's illustrator, on my book, Marguerite, Misty and Me. Bonnie drew two original illustrations which you can see in my memoir.
As you can see, Marguerite Henry wrote scores of books over the course of a 56-year career. It's a beautiful thing that her books still sell, still make people laugh and cry and are being read to the next generation.
Marguerite Henry Miscellaneous Books
Several of Marguerite's books were re-released or had a title change in order to invigorate sales. Also, she edited one book and a collection of art by Wesley Dennis is considered a book. I view it as repurposed content. Read on to find out more.
1954 Justin Morgan Had a Horse, (revised version by Rand McNally & Co.)
I have not read both versions--the Rand McNally and Wilcox and Follett-- of Justin Morgan Had a Horse, so I am not sure how different they are from each other. My guess is that since this was Marguerite's first horse book, and then she wrote prolifically for Rand McNally, the publishing house probably wanted to bring that titled into their "stable" to amplify sales.
1964 Portfolio of Horse Paintings, illustrated by Wesley Dennis
I have seen this collection while doing archival research for my book Marguerite, Misty and Me. I believe this was another repurposing of content. It's basically a large portfolio with Wesley Dennis illustrations from the book Album of Horses. The description says, "with commentary by Marguerite Henry," which to me seemed like the text from each breed description in Album of Horses.
1971 Stories from Around the World
One of my new Chincoteague Pony friends I made while researching my Marguerite and Misty memoir had a copy of this book. It's an anthology of stories; Marguerite did not write any of the stories, but she was the editor and she wrote the introduction.
1975 The Little Fellow (revised)
This is an interesting revised book. Marguerite's first edition of The Little Fellow was illustrated by Diane Thorne, and it was released in 1945, a couple of years before Marguerite was propelled to fame by Misty of Chincoteague. This revised edition released by Rand McNally and illustrated by Rich Rudish.
1993 Album of Horses: a Pop-Up Book, Aladdin
1997 My Misty Diary
I spent way too much money purchasing this hard-to-find book. When I received it, I realized it was Simon and Schuster's attempt to monetize Marguerite's name. It's a literal diary with a gold lock. The front cover has a list of all of Marguerite Henry's most popular horse books, a one-page summary of the Misty of Chincoteague storyline, and maybe 100 pages of thick, shiny, colored paper with graphics of horse grooming brushes, riding boots, apples and a handful of quotes from Marguerite's stories.
What books in this collection have you read? Which titles were new to you?
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