Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Book Reviews- Little Britches series

For far too many challenges I re-read and read the Little Britches series. The first seven books of the series I had already read but I had never finished the last three books in the series.

Little Britches (Hard Core Re-reading challenge)

Synopsis from Goodreads: In 1906 Littleton Colorado, near Denver, Ralph Moody 8 learns how to be a man from his father and cowboy Hi. Mother Mame tries to enforce Sunday bible standards. The family of seven build a ranch, participate in auctions, roundups, picnics. They suffer from irrigation wars, tornado wind storms, flood, gain and lose stock. 
The first and I think best of the series. This books sets up the second as Ralph's father teaches him about becoming a man.

Man of the Family (Hard Core Re-reading challenge)

Synopsis from Goodreads: Early 1900s Colorado. Fortified with Yankee ingenuity and western energy, the Moody family, transplanted from New England, builds a new ranch life. Father has died and Little Britches shoulders the responsibilities of a man at age eleven. Determined Grace and religious Mother cooks beans, bread and repair lace curtains while Ralph builds frames and delivers baking.
Though he is only twelve, with his father dead, Ralph is now the man of the family and fully determined to be just that. 

The Home Ranch (Hard Core Re-reading challenge and Monthly Key Word Challenge)

Synopsis from Goodreads: Ralph Moody turns again to Colorado, the scene of those two delightful earlier books about his boyhood, Little Britches and Man of the Family.This is an extension of Mr. Moody's recollections of his twelfth year, and fits withing the framework of Man of the Family between chapters 25 and 26.The Home Ranch has all the warm and wonderful ingredients which made his first two books such universal favorites with readers of all ages. The book teems with exciting and poignant incidents and with memorable characters, most of them good, kindly, generous people--though there is a villain. Mr. Moody is at his best in picturing a young boy's struggles with economic and other adversities, and having lived through them himself, he writes with such convincing honesty that the reader knows that this is the way things were.
Ralph has to learn to bring his pride down a little in this book and learn to work with men, and sometimes men who aren't so easy to get along with.

Mary Emma and Company (Hard Core Re-reading challenge)

Synopsis from Goodreads: The protagonist, Mary Emma Moody, widowed mother of six, has taken her family east in 1912 to begin a new life. Her son, Ralph, then thirteen, recalls how the Moodys survive that first bleak winter in a Massachusetts town. Money and prospects are lacking, but not so faith and resourcefulness. "Mother" in Little Britches and Man of the Family, Mary Emma emerges fully as a character in this book, and Ralph, no longer called "Little Britches," comes into his own. The family’s run-ins with authority and with broken furnaces in winter are evocative of a full and warm family life. 
The entrepreneurship of this family is incredible! And Mary Emma is so hard working! It's inspiring how this family pulls together and works hard to make a living. 

The Fields of Home (Hard Core Re-reading challenge)

Synopsis from Goodreads: 1912 Massachussetts. Narrator Ralph 15 battles maternal Grandpa Tom Gould, who swears at "tarnal" boy, cook Millie, old "yalla colt". Ralph has to learn patience and respect while continuing to grow up. 
I'm just saying that I would have even less patience than Ralph did with his Grandpa and he had little patience with him. At the end of the book though I think that we are beginning to understand his Grandpa more and we have a little more tolerance for him.

Shaking the Nickel Bush (Mount TBR challenge, TBR Pile Challenge) 

Synopsis from Goodreads: Skinny and suffering from diabetes, Ralph Moody is ordered by a Boston doctor to seek a more healthful climate. Going west again is a delightful prospect. His childhood adventures on a Colorado ranch were described in Little Britches and Man of the Family, also Bison Books. Now nineteen years old, he strikes out into new territory hustling odd jobs, facing the problem of getting fresh milk and leafy green vegetables. He scrapes around to survive, risking his neck as a stunt rider for a movie company. With an improvident buddy named Lonnie, he camps out in an Arizona canyon and "shakes the nickel bush" by sculpting plaster of paris busts of lawyers and bankers. This is 1918, and the young men travel through the Southwest not on horses but in a Ford aptly named Shiftless. 
I feel like in the last three books when Ralph is "grown up" and on his own he starts to lose his moral compass a little bit. This one was still enjoyable and Ralph cracks me up how he's able to use his random talents to make money.

The Dry Divide (Mount TBR challenge, TBR Pile Challenge) 

Synopsis from Goodreads: 4 July 1919 Nebraska. Ralph Moody "Bud" 20 is diabetic, down to last dime when put off a freight train. Three months later he owns 8 teams of horses and rigs. His girl Judy works alongside. On wheat and corn farm of bully Hudson, he pulls together Swedish brothers, drunk Doc, Spanish-speaking Paco, Irish "Jaiko Jack", Old Bill, into first-rate harvest crew.
This one takes place in Kansas so that's pretty cool. :) I was impressed with Ralph for sticking it out and how he made a team of the group of misfits. I liked Judy and she just disappears in the next book! I thought Ralph was a little fresh with her though!

Horse of a Different Color (Mount TBR challenge, TBR Pile Challenge, Series Ender challenge and Finishing the series challenge ) 

Synopsis from Goodreads: Ralph Moody's story is a perfect example of rural American enterprise in the early 1920s. He found himself with mountainous debts through collapse of the livestock market. In the process of digging himself out of debt, he also saved a town from total bankruptcy. The reader lives through a flash flood, admires his sanitary slaughter house, and weeps over a forced farm auction. This book is a glorious recollection of Pre-Dust Bowl, pre-Depression days
Ralph has really got a head for business. Some of the stuff he did made my head spin! It was a good conclusion to the stories and my only complaint would be that the girl he ended up marrying was so randomly inserted into the story! Not cool!

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