I finally decided to start this feature I’ve had simmering (and on my features page) for the past year or so. And I’m opening it up with a very special book.Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry
Published by Rand McNally on September 15th 1978 (first published January 1st 1953)
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Long ago, a lone little burro roamed the high cliffs of the Grand Canyon and touched the hearts of all who knew him: a grizzled old miner, a big-game hunter, even President Teddy Roosevelt. Named Brighty by the prospector who befriended him, he remained a free spirit at heart. But when a ruthless claim-jumper murdered the prospector, loyal Brighty risked everything to bring the killer to justice.
Brighty's adventures have delighted generations of readers, and he has become the symbol of a joyous way of life. Some people say that you can even see his spirit roving the canyon on moonlit nights-forever wild, forever free.
When I was a kid, I pretty much lived on a diet of Enid Blyton books and fairy tales. We’d visit the library often and I’m pretty sure I read my way through the entire children’s section; good times.
In 1995, when I was 11, my folks took me on a trip to the USA. We flew with Ansett Australia (they don’t exist anymore!), I got a horrific ear infection when we had a short layover in Cairns (we had to fly from Papua New Guinea back down to Australia to go overseas) that turned into a week because I wasn’t allowed to fly. I’ve suffered from ear infections my entire life and that one still has me cringing!
There’s a few things I remember from that trip.
1) I loved my walkman and every time we were in the car I’d be listening to it (much to my parents disgust), my jam at the time was the Broadway Grease soundtrack and various boybands haha
2) The Trees of Mystery in California are amazing
3) Alcatraz Island was the best part of the trip (probably because the self guided tours involved bright yellow walkmans)
4) The Grand Canyon and ALL THE SQUIRRELS (this is where my love of squirrels started and has never ceased, I will ALWAYS take a photo of a squirrel over everything else).
And this book.
We flew to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas (I think…) in a small plane, the trip there was fine; but on the way back we were going down the runway and the pilot pulled the plane up short, said it wasn’t right, and then we were there for 4 hours. There was nothing to do at that time of day, so we spent an awful lot of time in the gift shop, and my parents bought me Brighty of the Grand Canyon to stop me complaining about being bored.
I must have read that book at least three times while we were travelling. And then a few more times when we got home again. Dad was all ‘why do you keep reading this book?’ and then read it too (and bent the cover, THE HORROR).
It’s been many years since I last read it. I’m almost too scared to at this point, what if it doesn’t live up to my memories? What if it does? Will it still make me cry?
I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to re-read it, but it will always bring back fond memories. This was the first book I truly loved.