I quit reading for a while, but now with long summer afternoons at the pool working on a tan and watching the girls jump off the diving board, I'm back in the swing of things--because nothing goes with lounging by the pool like a good book!
Yesterday afternoon I read Caddie Woodlawn. I'm a sucker for pioneer girl stories, so it seemed a natural choice when I was at the bookstore. I was surprised by the endorsement on the back: "You take Little House on the Prarie; I'll take Caddie Woodlawn." Better than Little House? That's a pretty big claim.
Caddie Woodlawn didn't remind me so much of the Little House books--they have much more adventure, I think, and more of a sweeping pioneer feel. Caddie takes place in one location and I didn't really get the sense that the Woodlawns were a pioneer family, despite the worry about Indians and waiting for news from the east. All in all, the Woodlawns seemed pretty connected with the rest of the world compared to the Ingalls family.
This book reminded me more of the Grandmother's Attic books--especially after reading the author's note at the front of my copy.
All that to say, I did enjoy Caddie Woodlawn immensely and look forward to reading it with my girls. I can see them using this book for a school project at some point--and my copy (2006, Aladdin Paperbacks) has a great reader's guide at the end that has some good discussion questions and also some research and activity ideas. Though the book does leave out some historical details and raises questions like the ones in the previous post (which seemed somewhat real to me--as an 11-year-old girl, Caddie is more concerned with the small world she lives in rather than the world at large), it is a good way to interest kids in doing some research of their own.