Somewhere in the years of growing up, I not only forgot about the book, but as Kris Kristofferson wrote, I lost it somewhere, somehow along the way. So, a couple of years ago, I decided to search for the book. It took patience and time, but I located three paperback copies, which I have tucked away as treasured keepsakes.
You’ll notice the author’s name is not on the book's cover nor is it identified anywhere within the book, which makes me sad. On the bottom left in the next illustration, you’ll see the publisher is Whitman, and the Roman numerals translate to a 1952 copyright date.
The illustrations certainly pigeonhole the book as classic 1950s/early 1960s style. They also bring up fond reading memories, since I am of the generation who learned to read with Dick, Jane, and Sally and “See Spot run.”
A Horse for Henry goes like this…
What Henry wants most is a black colt named Shine, but he hasn’t shown that he’s dependable enough to take care of a horse. He leaves a saddle out in the rain. He forgets to load the salt in the chuck wagon. He leaves the corral gate open, and the horses get out. His dad tells him, “Son, when you can do a man’s work and do it right, you can have a horse.”
Just when it looks like Henry will always have to ride the family’s pet mule and never get a horse of his own, through some quick thinking on his part, he saves his little brother (and himself) from a cougar.
The next morning, Henry wakes to find Shine tied outside his window, and his dad says, “You’re a man now, Henry, and a man can’t get along very well without a horse of his own.”
Now, from my adult’s perspective, I look back on the popularity of the traditional western novels, television show, movies, and perhaps even some of the country music during the era when A Horse for Henry was published, and I see this story as a post-WWII children’s slant on the Old West theme of “what makes a man a man”.
This story, and its message, has stayed with me all these years and, every time I reread it, I remember why love it so much.
When I was ten, I got my first horse. The picture on the left is me with my Welsh pony named Corky. I was riding in the Howdy Days Parade in Fort Morgan, Colorado in August 1964. The picture on the right was at the Morgan County Fair in Brush, Colorado in August 1965 (4-H).
What is a favorite childhood book of yours?
Until next time,
Writing the West one romance upon a time
Coming March 9th
Surprise giveaway...stay tuned for more
Newsletter Sign-up: http://tinyurl.com/ouu4o5c
YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/kayespencer?feature=mhee