At the Bright Angel Lodge at the head of the Bright Angel Trail on the south rim of the Grand Canyon, there is a statue honoring a burro named Brighty. The free-spirited animal was a Park Service mascot, and he lived in the Canyon for almost 30 years.
Author Marguerite Henry read about the famous burro in an old copy of Sunset magazine. Brighty had so much personality that he was a natural subject for her. Her story of his life, Brighty of the Grand Canyon, is charmingly illustrated by Wesley Dennis.
A book about a burro? If you're familiar with Marguerite Henry's animal stories, then you know this is a good read. It's not just an animal story, either. Theodore Roosevelt makes an appearance, a suspension bridge (the Bright Angel Suspension Bridge across the Colorado River) is built, a murder mystery is solved, and by the end of the story you've learned a bit about American history and the natural history of the Grand Canyon, too.
We are lucky enough to have a signed copy of Brighty of the Grand Canyon with a tipped-in photo of the author and her own burro, Jiggs, who played Brighty in the 1967 movie version.
Brighty the burro disappeared in the early 1920s. Marguerite Henry softened up his ending for her book — it is a children's book, after all — but his legend lives on, thanks to her and the people who befriended him and treated him kindly, and to Theodore Roosevelt, who declared Brighty's home a national monument.