Little Britches
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Little Britches (Little Britches #1)

4.28 of 5 stars 4.28  ·  rating details  ·  5,035 ratings  ·  668 reviews
In 1906 Littleton Colorado, near Denver, Ralph Moody 8 learns how to be a man from his father and cowboy Hi. Mother Mame tries to enforce Sunday bible standards. The family of seven build a ranch, participate in auctions, roundups, picnics. They suffer from irrigation wars, tornado wind storms, flood, gain and lose stock. 1950 literary debut continues for 8 books.
Published (first published 1950)
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I finished Little Britches by Ralph Moody. I didn't want to read it because I thought it was a dumb title, and I don't like sad farming stories set in the Great Depression. I blame that on Steinbeck. I know it is so un public school taught of me, to not like Steinbeck but come on his stories are such downers. He is a good writer, but that doesn't mean I want to read his pathetic tales. The title makes more sense after reading the story, and it wasn't a downer story about the failings of capitali...more
Scott Axsom
I am, to use my dear, late, cowboy grandfather’s lowliest epithet, a dude. I'm city-born and horse-shy, but I'm also descended from Colorado ranchers and horsemen dating back to 1870, so I'll be the first to admit that I have a serious soft spot for all things cowboy and all things Colorado - it’s in my jeans, I guess. With that in mind, you'll probably want to take what follows with a block of salt:

Written in beautifully spartan prose, “Little Britches” is told through a series of (autobiograph...more
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"A man's character is like his house. If he tears boards off his house and burns them to keep himself warm and comfortable, his house soon becomes a ruin. If he tells lies to be able to do the things he shouldn't do but wants to, his character will soon become a ruin. A man with a ruined character is a shame on the face of the earth."

"Always remember, Son, the best boss is the one who bosses the least. Whether it's cattle, or horses, or men; the least government is the best government."

I just lo...more
This is first of a series of auto-biographies. I read the first one to see what all the fuss was about ("must-read classic") and plowed right through all of them. THey are:
Little Britches
Man of the Family
The Home Ranch
Mary Emma and Company
Fields of Home
Shaking the Nickel Bush
The Dry Divide
HOrse of a Different Color

I had a hard time getting through Fields of Home because of that tarnal fool of a Grandpa of his. I either wanted to knock him over the head, commit him to a group home or send them al...more
In 1966 I was in the first grade, and suffering because my newly minted teacher did not believe in children who could read without having completed all the Phonics lessons in the workbook first. My reading tastes were catholic *in the sense of universal* and included National Geographic Magazines form the '20's and '30's, my Great grandfather's Oklahoma grade school textbooks, The Farmer Stockman, The Reader's Digest, any newspaper, cereal box, or other printed matter I could find, and a hand fu...more
I checked this book out from the library.... I definitely need to acquire this one for myself. It's one I would read again many times, as well as read to my children. I LOVED it! I love the simplicity of how the story is told through the eyes of an 8-year-old boy, and how he's able to portray such a vivid picture with his memories. I love the relationship between Ralph and his parents, but particularly his father. I love his father's wisdom (there are many parts I would underline if I had my own...more
Slotowngal California born
Feb 28, 2008 Slotowngal California born rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anybody; especially good for reading aloud
This book is the first in a whole series of biographies about the Moody family, who went west around 1908 to become farmers in Colorado. The story of young Ralph Moody, his interactions with his parents, his lively descriptions of neighbors, cowboys and other characters all make his set of biographical novels a pleasure from start to finish. I read these first as a child, but have kept a copy of all 8 books nearby to re-read on a regular basis. Try them out.... they are worth the time.
Wonderful story!! My husband read it to the kids in summer of '08 then I read it myself that fall. I cried at the end of the story and loved the family relationships displayed in the book. Especially between Ralph and his dad. GREAT!!
My favorite quotes from the book:

"Always remember, Son, the best boss is the one who bosses the least. Whether it's cattle, or horses, or men; the least government is the best government (80)."

"Son, there are times a man has to do things he doesn't like to, in order to protect his family (120)."

"There are only two kinds of men in this world: Honest men and dishonest men. ...Any man who says the world owes him a living is dishonest. The same God that made you and me made this earth. And He pla...more
Abigail Larsen
"Son, there are times a man has to do things he doesn't like to, in order to protect his family."

In this autobiography that's anything but dry or textbook-ish, Ralph Moody begins the story of his childhood. His unique story-telling voice is authentic and appealing, drawing both young and old in. The emotions conveyed throughout these pages are compelling--surprisingly so since it's told from a young boy's perspective.

The account begins in 1906, and Ralph's family has just moved from the East Coa...more
Update 11/13 - Finished with kids. Still wonderful--if I can be as wise a parent as this father, my kids will be all right.

Wow! Great book - I read this the summer I graduated, along with every other book he wrote in this series that I could get my hands on (BYU's library didn't have them all, sadly). These books are autobiographical and describe a boy coming of age with his father at his side--a great book for anyone raising little boys! I loved the strong moral message of this book and the "wo...more
Oct 23, 2007 Amy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
This is what I call the "Little House on the Prairie" for boys. This is set in the same type of setting, rural farmland and a little boy and his family. I thouroughly enjoyed it. It showed his respect for his family and his love of horses. You can see how children at that time were forced into maturity at an earlier age. Life seemed more fragile, simple and gritty at that time.
I loved this book! It's been called a "Little House on the Prairie" for boys, and it's got similar themes-hard-working but poor family moving west to start fresh and live off the land, lots of kids, parents imparting wisdom, kids learning some hard-learned lessons. But since it's a boy, the adventures are more...adventurous! Lots of wild horse-riding, sneaky escapades, and growing up. It's a wonderful tribute to the author's father, as throughout the whole book, you see how Ralph draws closer to...more
Wayne S.
It is 1906, and eight-year-old Ralph Moody’s family is getting ready to move. They live in East Rochester, NH, and Ralph’s father Charles works in the woolen mills, but it isn’t good for his lungs. Cousin Phil, who lives in Denver, CO, visits and convinces Father that ranching in Colorado would be better for his health. So Father, Mother, Grace, Muriel, Philip, Hal, and Ralph rent a ranch on the Fort Logan-Morrison road, near Littleton, CO, not far from Denver. This autobiographical book chronic...more
Beth A.
May 11, 2009 Beth A. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Beth A. by: 1st Ward Book Club
This is an amazing coming of age story considering Ralph was only eight to eleven years old. He was a typical boy in that he was occasionally naughty. He was drawn to horses and this love led to most of his dangerous rule breaking.

His father was an endlessly patient and calm man, rarely showing anger even at the most provoking situations. He was great at explaining his values to his son, instead of just punishing. (Although Ralph did get his fair share of spankings.) He also served as a mediato...more
"You know, Son, sometimes a fellow has to take a licking for doing the right thing. A licking only lasts a short while, even if it's a hard one, but failing to do the right thing will often make a mark on a man that will last forever."
This was an amazing and wonderful little story about an 8 year old boy and his adventures on the Colorado frontier. The book is set back in 1908 and is TRUE! Ralph moved with his family to Colorado when he was 8 and has so many wonderful memories that he retells wi...more
I LOVED this book. So many lessons can be learned from this book. Lessons on patience, lessons on turning the other cheek, lessons on being slow to anger, lessons on working hard and pushing through whatever hand is dealt to you. Ralph's father is a great example throughout and teaches quietly so many lessons that his son needs to learn.
My favorite quote out of the book is said by Ralph's father to Ralph. He says, "There are only two kinds of men in this world: Honest men and dishonest men. The...more
Leta Palmiter
A review by a Middle School Class at Meridian Center for Classical Learning:
Little Britches by Ralph Moody is riveting story set in the rolling hills of Colorado, where the horse you're riding is your best friend. This book is a sad but true story of Ralph Moody's childhood life. From moving to a little shack on the frontier to watching his horse die, Moody tells a very descriptive tale. Ralph and his family work from sun up to sun down; there's no need for a clock. Ralph is the kind of eight-ye...more
Review: March 2013
I just love this book. Definitely getting my money's worth out of extravagantly buying this whole set new.
Read a few times since then...
Review: April 1-21, 2010
p. 95: "I liked noontimes best of any part of the haying. When it came twelve o'clock, Bessie would hammer on an old wagon tire hung near the kitchen door. The sound would roll out across the hayfields like the ringing of a big bell, and after it had stopped, the echo would come back from the hills as though they w...more
Yvonne swinson
OH!! OH!! I just love love love this book. Autobiographical historical fiction - is there anything better? Beautiful life lessons woven into the pages of this priceless book. The first two in the series are definitely the best, but the whole series is wonderful.

One of the challenges, I feel, in historical fiction, is painting an accurate history of very difficult times without wallowing in the mire (language, graphic depictions of violence, and so forth). To me, one of the many beauties of this...more
As I began reading this, I thought what a great, homespun tale it was, and what a great piece of family fiction. Then I realized it was an autobiography. I love Ralph Moody as a character and a writer--his style is so real, so very much from a boy's standpoint, that it sort of reminded me of Tom Sawyer at times. What a rascal young Ralph turns out to be--but how much he learns about himself and his family through only a few short years after moving from the East coast to the rugged Colorado high...more

What a fantastic book. Definitely one of the best reads our family has read together!

Ralph's family moves out west to Colorado on the advice of Cousin Phil to help Father's health. The family works together to learn and grow at ranching - the great independent American Dream.

Ralph learns lessons in character, honesty, and manhood from his father along the way.

It took both of us to get through the final, heart-wrenching chapter. This book ought to be read aloud to edit for coarse language....more
This is superb book, although is probably more interesting to a boy than to a girl. It's an essentially autobiographical account of Moody's life as a boy who moved with his "Yankee" family to Colorado at the turn of the 20th century. They struggled with twisters, mountain lions, coyotes, cloudbursts, and economic hardship. Along the way, young Ralph becomes a bronc-buster and learns other necessary skills of frontier life.

Moody, who went on to become an engineer by profession, has stated that on...more
Roughing it on the ranch combined with a father who knew just what to say and a mother who knew Shakespeare by heart seem to have given Ralph Moody a knack for telling good stories. This book is western story-telling at its finest.

(While reading it to my children, I "edited out" the times when God's name was taken in vain. Moody cleverly includes it in the story while letting his mother be a voice of conscience against it, thus giving the reader the same kind of temptation he experienced - a kin...more
Nov 28, 2011 Kerri rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: moms, dads, boys age 6 & up
I am very particular about giving 5 stars but this book unequivocally deserves it. I can't believe I waited so long since having it recommended to me through the TJed reading list, especially since I have all boys, but maybe the timing was perfect now while Isaac is the same age as Ralph. Anyway, this is an instant classic for our family to be read time & again going forward. I'm not going to give an overview of what happens in young Ralph's life in the early 1900s in Colorado, but suffice i...more
This was my favorite series as a kid. I don't know how many times I read it - over and over!
Got this book at the library and what a delightful read after Alicia. There wasn't a page that went by when i did not have a smile on my face. His wordings and actions were remarkable. Each chapter is a funny and learning experience for him. Some of my favorite lines:"Mother read to us. She didn't read like other people; she talked a book". And "Father was different from most people, you didn't have to talk much to visit with him". Well, so long partner!!
This was such a good book, it is beyond words. The charcters were people you care about and the setting, in Colorado, is wonderful. The trials and tribulations of living in Colorado in the early 1900's are amazing! I don't know as I could have survived those rough years. I know I will look out for the rest of Moody's books, I want to read all of them and follow the story as the years pass. A must read.
Some people are truly extra-ordinary, and Ralph Moody is one of them. First, he can tell a story. Second, his life was eventful and his parents amazing. Third, he could take a lickin' like no one I ever met. I have been reading this series aloud to my children for the past couple of years, and we all love it. Great stuff for character development - Ralph often learns the hard way but he always learns.
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Ralph Moody was an American author who wrote 17 novels and autobiographies about the American West. He was born in East Rochester, New Hampshire, in 1898 but moved to Colorado with his family when he was eight in the hopes that a dry climate would improve his father Charles's tuberculosis. Moody detailed his experiences in Colorado in the first book of the Little Britches series, Father and I Were...more
More about Ralph Moody...
Man of the Family (Little Britches, #2) The Fields of Home (Little Britches, #5) The Home Ranch (Little Britches, #3) Mary Emma & Company (Little Britches, #4) Shaking the Nickel Bush (Little Britches, #6)

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“A man's character is like his house. If he tears boards off his house and burns them to keep himself warm and comfortable, his house soon becomes a ruin. If he tells lies to be able to do the things he shouldn't do but wants to, his character will soon become a ruin. A man with a ruined character is a shame on the face of the earth.” 23 likes
“He had bucked harder with me than the fellows expected him to, and I don't know how I stayed on. I guess I was just too scared to fall off. Anyway, Mr. Cooper shook hands with me after Hi lifted me down. He said, "By God, you're going to make a cow poke, Little Britches. As long as you're with me you can call him your own horse." Then he laughed, and said to the other men, "I thought, by God, the kid was going to pull that one-inch hackamore rope in two before the music stopped."

Father never swore, and I know I wouldn't ever have said it out loud, but before I really knew what I was thinking, "By God, I thought so, too," went through my head.”
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