Friday, 1 August 2014

PBOTD 1st August: Marguerite Henry - Sea Star, Orphan of Chincoteague

Today, the adult ponies and the Buy Back foals will swim back to Assateague, and that will be pony penning over for another year. It will also be the last of the Marguerite Henry Misty titles I'm going to feature in the PBOTD.

It's funny how books can come to mean different things to you: they're not necessarily just the story, and your reactions to it. There are the mystery books: the elusive ones you knew existed but couldn't get your hands on. When I was a child, and a pony book fanatic, I was always aware that there were books out there I simply never saw. I knew Gillian Baxter existed, but I'd never read a single one of her books. And there were all those Monica Edwards titles I knew about from the back of the Armadas, but which never, ever appeared in any of the bookshops around me. In those days, you couldn't 
buy books over the internet, because it didn't exist. When I asked my mother if I could order some via the handy little order form Armada put in the back of its books so you could send off and get your hands on those elusive titles, she said no. 

I took this as the mysterious ways of adults, beyond my understanding. Thinking about it now, maybe she thought I'd be disappointed if the books didn't arrive: or maybe I simply asked her on a day which hadn't gone well and she said no because the thought of doing one other thing was simply too much, and after that, the answer well, sort of stuck.


Armada 1972

So, Armada's Sea Star, by Marguerite Henry, was another title which I didn't read until adulthood. I didn't have my own copy for a while after that. I have a horse-loving niece, and I used to buy her pony books, including the hardback below. When she cast off childish things, she cast the books in my direction, so now I have my own hardback copy. I wonder if she'll regret this decision one day (in which case, if you're reading this Nat, you are welcome to have Sea Star back).

Sea Star covers the shipping of Misty away from Chincoteague and the struggles of Paul and Maureen to raise the young orphan. Since Sea Star is too young to eat on his own, they work to find a nurse mare willing to him and, of course, they succeed and Sea Star and his new mother join the Beebe family.

Collins, 1968

Here's a video of the ponies swimming back to Assateague last year:





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The Pony Penning and Swim
More on Marguerite Henry




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