Harrison Farm

for now, the only thing we're growing on this farm is kids - not the goat variety

Category: Book Reviews (page 1 of 2)

Book Report: The Adventures of Hans Sterk

This book was published in 1869 by Alfred W. Drayson as a compiling of all the information found about Hans Sterk, a young Dutchman living the wild areas of South Africa in 1835.

He and the other Dutch in South Africa (known as Boers) were primarily elephant hunters in the tribe-inhabited wilderness. There were many battles with the local tribes and a lot of violence; the book reads like a fiction story.

The details are not very well filled in by the author. There seems to be some stretching to the limit of what would be considered possible for a non-fiction book, and there were some important points that were not explained satisfactorily. For the most part though, I enjoyed reading it, and I think it gives an accurate presentation of what things were really like in South Africa around that time.

What happened to the Boers? The British invaded their nation (the Orange Free State) in 1889 because they wanted to expand their reign (like all empires do) and because there was a huge diamond deposit on Boer territory. The Boers were either sent overseas as prisoners or put in concentration camps.

Good Reads from the Library’s Children’s Department

For last week:

Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld – about perceptions; simple and funny

Spot It!: Find the Hidden Creatures by Delphine Chedru – these hidden creatures your three year old can find. Mine was delighted.

The Big Blue Bowl: Sign Language for Food by Dawn Babb Prochovnic, illustrated by Stephanie Bauer – cute and pretty clear. My little ones loved it, and I saw one of the older ones checking out the signs.

It’s a Snap!: George Eastman’s First Photograph by Monica Kulling, illustrated by Bill Slavin – great story and great illustrations. (I enjoyed this the most. It will be most appreciated by adults.)

Have you discovered some literary delights for your littles? Please share.

Ralph Moody Treats

When commenter and fellow Ralph Moody fan Gregg Green wrote and offered me copies of a couple of personal letters from Moody, I jumped at the offer. At age 8, Green had become a fan of Little Britches and Moody’s books. Being a fellow Maine resident and an ambitious young lad, he penned a letter to Ralph Moody. To his delight, he received a personal response. The two became sort of pen pals, exchanging a few letters and Christmas cards.

And lucky me…Gregg found this blog and has given me permission to share some items with you. Here is a word from Gregg:

…I have a couple of letters and a picture that Mr. Moody sent back in the late 60’s. The typed letter was a response to the first letter I ever sent him, and the handwritten letter came with the photo a year or so later. We corresponded for a few years after that, trading Christmas cards and such, but unfortunately I never did have the good fortune to meet him. The scans came out really well and you are welcome to use them on your website if you would like…

So, here they are, friends. That Moody took the time to write to a young boy…well, it says a lot. Clicking on the photo and letters will enlarge them. If you’re on dial-up and don’t want to wait for the letters to load, I’ve typed them out. Here’s the typed letter, and here’s the hand-written one. Enjoy!

More Ralph Moody Finds

Commenter and fellow Ralph Moody fan Patrick Garrett shared these links with me. The first is a bio at the Littleton, CO website. It tells more about Ralph’s life than I have covered in the books, so I had to stop reading about 3/4 of the way into it. I don’t want to spoil his stories for myself.

The second is a delightful glimpse of some correspondence between Moody and the Nebraska Public Library Commission in 1965. I love the 2nd paragraph in Moody’s March 19 letter that states,

As to topic and title: I presume you know that my formal education terminated at the eighth grade. It did, and from that time to this public libraries have been my school, and scores of dedicated librarians the faculty. At a very early age I learned to read from the viewpoint of the author, and when I first tried writing, at the age of fifty, I found little difficulty, for I had learned to write from reading. And because of the guidance given me by public librarians, I’ve had the best teachers in the English Speaking World — the authors of the classics. How about calling the talk [that I’ll be giving], “My Alma Mater: The Public Library”?

The photo above is from the “Official Nebraska Government Website” from a clipping from 1965. Moody died in 1982.

A Find for Ralph Moody (“Little Britches”) Fans

Fellow Ralph Moody fans, you won’t believe what we (actually my sleuthing husband) found! We just finished reading The Fields of Home, the 5th book in Moody’s autobiographical series. At this point in Ralph’s young teen-age years, he goes to spend some time with his abrasive maternal grandfather after getting kicked out of Medford, Massachusetts by the town sheriff. His grandfather lived just outside Lisbon Falls, Maine.

This book is full of trials of a different sort than what we’ve seen in the previous books. Here, Ralph’s trials are primarily relational ones – trials with an old, stubborn, prideful relative. There are lots of golden nuggets within the pages.

So what’s the “find”? Continue reading

Can’t Get Enough of the Little Britches Series

Not long ago I wrote about how much we enjoyed reading Ralph Moody’s Little Britches. We’ve since read the 2nd book, Man of the Family, and we’re now in the middle of The Home Ranch. This series has been, hands down, everyone’s favorite. Continue reading

What Makes a Good School?

I’m reading Booker T. Washington’s autobiography Up From Slavery and took note of an interesting section where Washington contrasts 2 different schools. He notes Continue reading

Quick Summary of “Man’s Search for Meaning”

I couldn’t pass up reading a book called “Man’s Search for Meaning,” knowing it was written by a holocaust survivor. Viktor Frankl went into the concentration camps as a psychiarist with a book in the works. When he came out, having lost his wife and parents, as well as his book manuscript, he went on to found logotherapy, a school of psychotherpy, that focuses on finding meaning in one’s life. Continue reading

Book Review: Little Britches by Ralph Moody

We finished reading Little Britches by Ralph Moody a couple of weeks ago. I was familiar with the title but that was all. I’ll start by saying that after reading this memoir of the author’s boyhood, I’ve searched our library for more books by the author.

Little Britches is about Moody’s family adjusting to life on a Colorado ranch after having to leave New England city life so that his father could avoid the working conditions that aggravated his cough, a hangover symptom from tuberculosis. It’s a coming of age story, as Ralph works along side his father, finds his place in the local schoolhouse, and picks up odd jobs to help the family make ends meet. He learns about honesty, animals, and hard work. It’s a touching story about family life in the early 1900’s, highlighting a boy’s relationship with his father.

Book Review: The Great Turkey Walk

The latest read-aloud that we completed was The Great Turkey Walk by Kathleen Karr. At first I thought this book was a joke. At least, we used to joke about herding chickens when we would move them from paddock to paddock on our small farm several years ago.

But this book is about some serious poultry herding: 1000 bronze turkeys walking from Missouri to Denver in pre-Civil War America. Such turkey herding actually took place years ago. Continue reading

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