#116. Brighty of the Grand Canyon

Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry
Illustrated by Wesley Dennis

Pages: 224
Finished: Nov. 17, 2007
Reason for Reading: Four-Legged Friends Challenge, From the Stacks Challenge, Book Awards Challenge.
First Published: 1953
Genre: historical fiction, animal story
Awards: William Allen White Children's Book Award
Rating: 3.5/5

First Sentence:

A shaggy young burro lay asleep in the gray dust of the canyon trail.

Comments: This is a story of the Grand Canyon during the early 1900s when it was the home of trappers, hunters, miners, and mountain men. The story is told through the eyes of a wild burro who lived the live of freedom yet sometimes lived alongside the men of the Canyon. This is based on a true story of real burro who even met Theodore Roosevelt. This is a wonderful well-written story with compelling characters. There is a continuing plot line involving a thief and murderer but much of the book contains episodic chapters of Brighty's adventures. The first half of the book is a slow, gentle read and I did find it hard to settle down with this book but the pace picks up at the mid-point and overall a good read. Recommended, especially if you are interested in this area.


  1. I wonder how children would take to this if, as you say, it starts so slowly. One of the difficulties of helping children into reading more thoughtful books, I think, is that they seem to need a quick fire start that 'grabs' their attention. I hadn't come across this, but then such a small percentage of fiction for children makes it across the Atlantic; it's a shame.

  2. Ann, one thing that keeps the book moving is that each chapter, especially for the first half of the book, is mostly episodic so even though the book is slow to get to the rising action each chapter does include a resolution. This, I think will definately help kids, who are not used to reading classic literature, to enjoy this type of book. I've found many books popular in the fifties use this episodic chapter format.

  3. I grew up in Arizona and this was one of my favorite books when I was a kid. I recently bought a copy at a used bookstore and took it home to read. Lots of good memories for me. I do think kids now would find it a bit slow though. There is also a movie version of this book on DVD that was made in the late 60s or early 70s. I truly enjoyed it as well. This movie probably wouldn't be able to be made today. Thanks for posting a review of one my favorite kid books :o)


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