Dear Readers and Riders: The Beloved Books, Faithful Fans, and Hidden Private Life of Marguerite Henry

Trafalgar Square. May 2024. 328p. ISBN 9781646011940. pap. $27.95. BIOG
Wall Street Journal wine columnist and experienced horsewoman Teague’s captivating biography of Marguerite Henry (1902–97), author of Newbery winners King of the Wind and Misty of Chincoteague as well as 57 other children’s books and compilations, ensures that Henry’s legacy will live on. Teague notes that Henry was one of the few authors of the time whose books didn’t speak down to children. Instead, Henry based her books on deep research and exciting historical incidents and added realistic embellishments that children (largely girls ages eight to 14) would find relatable. This blend of fact and fiction was a winning formula that Henry repeated in most of her work. Teague explores Henry’s lengthy search for a talented artist who could accurately capture her vision of both human and animal characters, and she developed a lifelong close relationship with Wesley Dennis, who illustrated her most popular titles. Henry helped market her books by personally answering all fan mail, sending out newsletters, and making appearances with horses. Teague’s book includes select fan letters, some very humorous; over 100 photographs; an extensive bibliography; and several drawings from Henry’s books.
VERDICT Legions of fans will be enthralled by this biography of a beloved children’s author. Essential for all public and academic libraries.
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