Monday, April 15, 2019

"Caddie Woodlawn" by Carol Ryrie Brink

This book is every bit as fun as I remembered it being!  I chuckled aloud more than once.  And my two oldest kids thoroughly enjoyed it too.  In fact, my 9-year-old promptly read the sequel, Magical Melons (recently retitled Caddie Woodlawn's Family).  My 11-yr-old liked it so much, he said he'd like it if I read it out loud to everyone on vacation this summer.  Warmed my heart!

Also, this solved a semi-mystery for me.  For all of my adult life, the phrase "If at first you don't fricasee, fry, fry a hen" has popped into my head whenever someone says "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."  And I knew it was from some book I read as a kid, but I could NOT figure out which one!  Well, it's totally from this.  Which makes sense, as I read this over and over.

Caddie Woodlawn is a spunky pioneer girl living in the woods of Wisconsin.  Think of 11-yr-old Laura Ingalls Wilder if she was still living in the Little House in the Big Woods and had brothers to pal around with.  Caddie's family moved to Wisconsin when she was very small, and she was a sickly child, so her father convinced her mother to let her run around outside with her brothers until she was ready to be "ladylike."  She has lots of adventures, like saving her Indian friends from being killed by angry settlers, racing her uncle down the river on a raft, and fighting a prairie fire.

I can see now why I loved this book as a kid.  I was also a tomboy.  My dad also let me run "wild" as often as I liked, and I thought the description "ladylike" was a pejorative.  So I know I identified strongly with Caddie.  Also, the whole book is a lot of cheerful fun, and I think it'd be hard not to enjoy it.

I did not know until reading this to teach it to our homeschool co-op that this is basically a true story!  Caddie Woodlawn was really Caddie Woodhouse, the author's grandmother, who really did grow up a tomboy in the Wisconsin woods.  Published in Caddie's lifetime, with her assistance and approval, it won the Newbery Medal, and deservedly so.

Reading this with my 9-yr-old :-)
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  G.  Good, clean, cheerful fun!

This has been my 31st book read and reviewed for the Classics Club on my second go-round with them!


  1. One of my favorite childhood books!!

  2. Love this book! I must revisit it for my Newbery challenge this year. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. I had completely forgotten about this book! Aw, what a lovely trip down memory lane.

    1. Evangeline, glad it stirred happy memories for you!


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