Brighty of the Grand Canyon. Marguerite Henry
Rand McNally & Co., 1953; Awarded 1956.
Synopsis: Brighty the burro lives a wild, carefree life, often helping his friend Old Timer, a prospector who has discovered copper ore in the Grand Canyon. When Old Timer is killed by a stranger named Jake Irons, Brighty is left on his own, save for a friend of Old Timer's named Uncle Jim Owens. Uncle Jim and the sheriff spend several years looking for the killer. After several years of adventure, Brighty becomes instrumental in helping to capture the fugitive.
Fending off a mountain lion, overseeing the creation of a suspension bridge over the Grand Canyon, joining a herd of wild burros, and becoming trapped in a snowstorm with cruel Jake Irons are all part of Brighty's rich experience.
Themes: Mules; Grand Canyon; Justice; Freedom
Author information: Something About the Author, vol. 100, pp. 122-126; Something About the Author-Autobiography Series, vol. 7, pp. 91-108.
Discussion Questions: Standard 3, Benchmark 3
1. Throughout his life, Brighty fights for his freedom and yet he yearns for the companionship of others. Which characters, both people and animals, does Brighty turn to for companionship when he is lonely? In what ways does Brighty help his friends? In what ways do they help him?
2. Was Old Timer wrong to trust Jake Irons when he first met him, before anyone knew the crimes he was planning? Is there anything Old Timer could have done differently to help save his life? Is trust a good thing? How does trust develop?
3. How was Brighty's life better when he became the leader of the pack of wild burros? How was it worse?
1. In the story, Theodore Roosevelt and his son Quentin come to the Grand Canyon for a mountain lion hunting expedition. Research the history of Grand Canyon National Park. When did it become a National Park? What did T eddy Roosevelt have to do with the creation of National Parks? (www.desertusa.com/mag98/iuly/papr/du_troosev. html) (www.cr.nps.gov/historv) Standard 1, Benchmark 4
2. Research the differences between burros, donkeys, mules, and horses. Which one is Brighty? Is it important to protect the habitat for wild burros and horses to live freely? Why or why not? Find out more about the the wild horse and burro adoption program of the federal government. (.www. wjldhorseandburro.blm.gov) Standard 2, Benchmark 1
3. Brighty is a witness to the building of a new bridge which stretches from one side of the canyon to the other. Study suspension bridges, like the one that was built over the Grand Canyon (beginning p. 110, "Spider Web of Steer'). Create a model of the bridge, which is still in use today along the Bright Angel Trail. Standard 5, Benchmark 3