Surfer Dude: The Legendary Stallion of Chincoteagueby Lois K. Szymanski, Linda Kantjas (Illustrations)

Expected publication: June 28th 2017 by Schiffer Publishing
4.5 Stars

Synopsis: Destined for fame, Surfer Dude is known to many who looked for this colt while crossing the bridge to Assateague Island and the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. The story of this beloved wild stallion, who cared for his herd of mares over a lifetime on Chincoteague Island, is beautifully illustrated in vivid detail, from his distinctive blue eye to his white star and stripe, silver mane and tail, and chocolatey chestnut coat. His passing at the ripe age of twenty-three in the spring of 2015 touched people from across the United States and beyond. But the spirit of his gentle nature and the way he loved his foals lives on. His spirit lingers in breezes that ruffle the island grasses and in the sunbeams that warm the island ponies, and is celebrated in this story of love and the circle of life.

My Review: As a child I loved reading Misty of Chincoteague and other books by Marguerite Henry. When I read this story, it brought back those memories. This story is for a younger audience than these other ones and therefore the story is a bit romanticized, as the author discusses in the afterward, but it describes the situation on Assateague Island well for younger children.

Surfer Dude is a beautiful foal with one blue and one brown eye. The daughter of one of the Cowboys falls in love with him and names him. The story follows his life as he grows, gets expelled from the herd, finds friends during his bachelor life, develops his own herd, and finally dies with his son taking over his herd. There is descriptions of the yearly round up, swim to Chincoteague, horse auctions and more. This is all done in a child friendly way. At the end of the book there are short descriptions of other horses mentioned in the story as well as animals that live on the islands. This story is based on a true animal which is also nice. I absolutely loved the illustrations. They were beautiful water colour pictures that depicted very realistic horses, colts, foals, mares and stallions. If you have a child that loves horses, then pick up this book. It would also be a good one to teach about eco-systems. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.