A new chapter-book series builds on the familiar world of Marguerite Henry’s Misty of Chincoteague (1947).
When their family moves to the Virginia shore, Willa and Ben get a longed-for pet, New Cat, help a pony adapt to its new home on their grandmother’s farm, and find new friends. This first title sets the stage, introducing the characters and setting in today’s Chincoteague, where the Dunlaps hope to open a restaurant and bed-and-breakfast. The move is difficult for both children; quiet Ben is shy, and Willa misses her friends. Sarah, a neighbor, seems standoffish, at first. Starbuck, born on Assateague Island across the channel and purchased at the annual pony auction by its previous owner, is not yet ready to be placed with the other ponies on their grandparents’ farm, so the two children spend a lot of time with her. Earhart, author of two previous series about horses, Big Apple Barn and Breyer Stablemates, is comfortable providing the details of horse care young readers enjoy. Her gentle, third-person narrative is written in short paragraphs with plenty of dialogue. There will be frequent illustrations (final art not seen) and Misty Inn sequels to come; Volume 2, Buttercup Mystery, publishes simultaneously.
This agreeable story may well send its readers in search of the classic that was its inspiration. (Fiction. 7-10)