I feel as if Marguerite and I could be close chums; we have so much in common. But what’s past is past; she was born one hundred years before I was, and died near the turn of the century. What a life Marguerite Henry must have had! To have seen such inventions, fashions, people, wars, and ideas in one lifetime is not something many people can claim. The two of us have many things in common; a hunger for books, an urge to write, and fondness for animals. She sold her first story to a magazine when only eleven… at the same age I published a poem in the newspaper (see it in my post A Poem: It Is War).
But I, unlike her, was not bedridden from rheumatic fever for almost my entire childhood. It may have been a trial for her, but through it she discovered the joy of reading, and after she received her own writing desk, it was history. On my bookshelf I have four books penned by Marguerite Henry. Sadly, my shelves are too few and my wallet too thin, or I would have bought all of her fifty-nine works. From Justin Morgan Had a Horse to Brown Sunshine of Sawdust Valley, Henry has charmed America with her books. While all of them are based on true-to-life animals, time and time again horses find their way into her titles. (I reviewed one of my favorites in Book Review: Born to Trot)
Although I don’t know much about her private life, I do know that her passions for writing, animals, and children converged perfectly. Her ninety-five years overflowed with pets and creatures, whose stories in print brought the crowds of young people that her marriage did not supply. And even though only one of her books earned a Newbery medal, I am sure common America would nominate every one. Her legacy will not weather away like a gravestone will. Her books will always be here; we see her on every page.