I can’t remember if I got this book from a thrift store or from swapping books with a friend. Either way, this book has been one that my boys have looked forward to each day when we read it. It has a feel that reminds me of Little House on the Prairie because it is a nonfiction story told by the author, Ralph Moody, starting when he was very young. His family makes a big move across the country from New Hampshire to Colorado to start a ranch, essentially taming the environment- or did the environment tame them?
Since we live in Colorado, we’re using it as part of our Colorado history lessons- but my kids have no idea. They think I’m reading it because we love family reading time. We end up having great discussions about each chapter and what we would do if we were in that situation. Secretly, every time that Ralph shares about his responsibilities, I’m hoping that my kids start to realize how easy they have it. Ralph, after all, started working for a quarter per day herding cows. He was thrown from his horse numerous times, received advice about ways to make his job easier from his dad without complaining or acting like he didn’t need the counsel, and was admonished by his employer’s wife on his first day. None of that stopped him. He kept working and didn’t complain. He knew he was an important part of keeping his family going financially and in other ways.
This book is great for family reading because we can discuss and/or explain the meaning of some of the story that kids wouldn’t be exposed to today. It’s a great opportunity for parents to skip a few words here and there if the words aren’t allowed in the household. I do not expect my 5 year old to sit and listen to this one. It’s above his attention span and level of interest. Even my 7 year old daughter sometimes leaves the room. Perhaps it’s because this is a story about boys or because it is slightly above her level of interest, too. Everyone else, looks forward to the next time I read and often asks me to read another chapter.
Don't take my word for it. Here are some thoughts by other people:
Ralph Moody is a great writer because, as the analogy goes, instead of saying "She was a beautiful woman", he describes her and you are left to conclude that she was, indeed, a beautiful woman. The inferences are clear, though understated and never 'preachy'. It's about everyday life, so there are detailed descriptions of what was done on the farm and the implements that were used during that era, but my grandson has amazingly hung in there and clung to every word, even the ones neither he nor I understood. 🙂
It is a story that will stretch on through nine books through life on a Colorado ranch, and in a suburb of Boston, with a time on a farm in Maine when the boy learns what it takes to be a man. They are priceless treasures in my library - but Ralph Moody takes the prize as my all time favorite.
Every family needs to read this book together. Great storytelling about life in the early settlement days, with moral and virtue lessons and exciting horsework and tales of ranch life. Can't say enough about this book. We are now reading it to our children for the second time.
Have you and/or your family read this book? Your thoughts and opinions about this book are welcome. Add them to our comments below.