Based on Carol Ryrie Brink’s own grandmother’s experiences, Caddie Woodlawn was first published in 1935 and awarded tReviewed first on Redeemed Reader
Based on Carol Ryrie Brink’s own grandmother’s experiences, Caddie Woodlawn was first published in 1935 and awarded the 1936 Newbery Medal. Eleven-year-old Caddie Woodlawn, the middle child in her large family, is a red-headed tomboy who rebels at her mother’s and older sister’s attempts to make her more ladylike, preferring instead the wild adventures she has with her two close brothers. Those adventures include such unladylike actions as swimming, ice skating, and rescuing the school from a prairie fire. Caddie doesn’t realize it, but she is also demonstrating her own unique gifts along the way as she compassionately spends her money to help some poor children, patiently learns how to repair watches at her father’s side, and keeps “Injun John’s” dog for him after bravely warning him of the white settlers’ unrest.
What makes a book like Caddie Woodlawn stand the test of time? It’s authentic. Not only is it grounded in a real woman’s memories of life on the frontier, it tackles issues that are real and true for all times: race relations and judging people from other cultures before getting to know them,* freedom and responsibility, when it’s worth sacrificing your home for a new adventure (and when it’s worth staying put!), how to love your family members through the easy times and the hard times, and how to grow up into the person God made you to be. Caddie grapples with each of these throughout the book, and she ends the book ready to become a woman—not a simpering, frail creature, but a strong, multi-skilled pioneer who is ready to love, protect, and serve her future family. *Note that many find the terminology used in this book for American Indians to be offensive. Certainly we wouldn’t condone someone saying “Injun” or “savage” today, but this would have been standard white settler vocabulary during the time period. It’s worth pointing out that Caddie herself is a great example of someone who does not let cultural stereotypes and fear keep her from seeing her American Indian neighbors as people just like herself.
Caddie Woodlawn is a great choice for a family read-aloud because her rambunctious spirit is often echoed in young listeners, be they boys or girls! Caddie Woodlawn is also a wonderful follow-up to the Little House books; it is a harder and more complex read than the first few Little House books. A fun read about a boy learning to embrace his own unique gifts during a similar time period is The Great Turkey Walk. Many parents (and grandparents!) today will remember reading Caddie Woodlawn during their own childhoods. It’s time to revisit this classic.
This is an old childhood favorite of mine. I read this book over and over and over as a girl. Recently, we listened to it in the car--read by a greatThis is an old childhood favorite of mine. I read this book over and over and over as a girl. Recently, we listened to it in the car--read by a great British narrator whose name I can't remember. At any rate, this was a wonderful way to introduce the story to today's children. Victorian novels are so much more wordy than contemporary novels, and the British culture/setting needed explaining at times. But in audio form, this was easy to overcome. All 3 kids loved the book and were completely caught up in the story. If you have young horse fans in your family (and that's a common phase, especially for girls!), don't forget about Black Beauty! ...more
You must read this with Kipling's original illustrations and long-winded captions. They are half the fun. The stories in the second half of the book dYou must read this with Kipling's original illustrations and long-winded captions. They are half the fun. The stories in the second half of the book didn't hold my kids' attention as well as the first half, but they might just not be ready for them yet. All in all, a hilarious, tongue-in-cheek collection of whimsy. ...more
Farjeon’s Glass Slipper is a romp through Cinderella’s story complete with ugly, rude stepsisters, an abominable stSee full review on Redeemed Reader
Farjeon’s Glass Slipper is a romp through Cinderella’s story complete with ugly, rude stepsisters, an abominable stepmother, a loving but wimpy father, and a mysterious “crone” who transforms Cinderella into a breathtaking beauty the night of the ball. Cinderella reveals her kindhearted nature throughout the story as she offers food to animals, takes care of her father, and tries not to complain. In this version, it is not animals who talk but the “Things” that surround Cinderella (particularly the grandfather clock). Jaunty little songs sprinkle the text, and the reader will sense the theatrical elements that are holdovers from the dramatic version (as well as the Disney songs like “Bippity Boppity Boo”). A great fit for young, advanced readers who enjoy princess stories, this is also a good companion to the animated Disney version. ...more
I'm a huge George MacDonald fan! This is not my favorite of his children's fantasies, but it's certainly up there on my general list. I confess that iI'm a huge George MacDonald fan! This is not my favorite of his children's fantasies, but it's certainly up there on my general list. I confess that it took me two readings to fully enjoy it, but a wonderful story for those who persevere....more
This is a really great book to introduce kids to dystopian literature, allegory/parallels to history, etc. I always taught it to 9th graders who wereThis is a really great book to introduce kids to dystopian literature, allegory/parallels to history, etc. I always taught it to 9th graders who were simultaneously studying Communism in their world history class....more