Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Book Review: Little Britches
I recently had the pleasure of reading this memoir by Ralph Moody aloud for the second time in the past 6 or 7 years, this time to my younger two kids. This is one of those books that makes me get all choked up as I read it aloud, and at times I had to pause, take a deep breath, and get a drink of water before I could continue. It's that sweet.
This is Ralph Moody's tribute to his father, starting in 1906 when 8-year-old Ralph and his family moved from New Hampshire to a ranch in Colorado. The life of the Moody family becomes a series of adventures and life lessons, from dying animals to the consequences of disobedience. Each chapter brings another story of life on the ranch, highlighting Ralph's progress from little boy to man and his father's gentle but extraordinarily effective parenting style.
Moody's writing style is clear and lyrical, and his dialogue is fantastic. Father's lessons are always meaningful but never, ever didactic. My kids didn't know they were getting life lessons as we read; they loved Father nearly as much as Ralph does.
My kids, ages 12 (girl) and 8 (boy), were mesmerized by this book. I was a little afraid when we began reading it that my daughter would find it to be too much of a "boy" book, but she loved it. They have both asked to read the second book in this series, Man of the Family. I've not read this one yet, but I may put aside our scheduled reading and delve into this one instead.
If you're looking for a fantastic read-aloud along the lines of Little House on the Prairie and Caddie Woodlawn, you'll love Little Britches. The biggest problem, besides the crying, is that you'll probably want to step in a time-machine to a time period that was both much more simple and much, much harder.