Grand pap an I read most of the series. We purchased 6 of his books for 8 and 10 year old grandsons for Christmas. We reserved "The Home Farm" and "The Dry Divide" for next Christmas. We enjoyed all the books and found them difficult to put down. We believe our grandsons will face the same situation. We did think that some issues dealt with in the last two books, while being part of difficulties faced in some lives even today could be dealt with at a later time. Grand Pap also received Stagecoach which is also by Ralph Moody. That is a very interesting history of the development of stagecoach travel in the west.
I read this book series to my 7 year old, and I loved them so much that I couldn't put them down. I can't say enough good things about this book and the series. There are quite a few "pearls of wisdom" scattered throughout as well. I Can't wait until my 2 year old is a little older so that I can read the set again to him. If you have boys I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK!!! You will not be disappointed!
It is 1906, and eight-year-old Ralph Moody's family is getting ready to move. They live in East Rochester, NH, and Ralph's father Charles works in the woolen mills, but it isn't good for his lungs. Cousin Phil, who lives in Denver, CO, visits and convinces Father that ranching in Colorado would be better for his health. So Father, Mother, Grace, Muriel, Philip, Hal, and Ralph rent a ranch on the Fort Logan-Morrison road, near Littleton, CO, not far from Denver. This autobiographical book chronicles their first year which involves settling on the ranch, meeting neighbors, planting crops, raising animals, going to school, experiencing a huge wind storm,and fighting over irrigation rights. Ralph, who becomes known as "Little Britches," learns how to be a cowboy and even participates in a rodeo, but will the ranch be successful? Will the family even survive?
This series of books has long been recommended by homeschoolers as the "Little House for Boys." First, there are some negatives, one of which is language issues. One source says, "Be aware, however, that there is some inappropriate language used - no doubt in keeping with the actual verbiage of rugged cowboys and characters of the time." Another source says, "an excellent read-aloud selection (which will allow you to filter out the smattering of â€˜cuss' words that occur, and which Moody himself wasn't allowed to use as a lad)." And still another source says, "A customer pointed out that there are a few undesirable words used to watch out for." Also, several who have read the entire series have noted that the later books, especially after Ralph goes to live with his grandfather in The Fields of Home, are not as good as the earlier ones which detail his childhood because they are more "dark" with lots of bad attitudes which are displayed over and over.
However, there are also some strong positives. Little Britches is rich in the values of family unity, honesty, inventiveness, earning others' trust, and satisfaction in a job well done. And there is great emphasis on character development. Ralph gets in several predicaments and doesn't always make the right choices, but he learns to do better by heeding hisfather's wise advice, who said, "Any man who says the world owes him a living is dishonest. The same God that made you and me made this earth. And He planned it so that it would yield every single thing that the people on it need. But He was careful to plan it so that it would only yield up its wealth in exchange for the labor of man. Any man who tries to share in that wealth without contributing the work of his brain or his hands is dishonest." Amen! What an important lesson that is so needed today! The seven sequels are Man of the Family, The Home Ranch, Mary Emma and Company, The Fields of Home, Shaking the Nickel Bush, The Dry Divide, and Horse of a Different Color.
My son recommended the "Little Britches" series to me; and I'm hooked! They are a continuing saga of a boy attempting to be a man early in his life, after the untimely death of his father. He works hard to help provide for his mother and five other siblings.
Based on the real life of the author, the scene is 1910 America. I think of it as a male version of Little House on the Prairie. It's exciting, dramatic, endearing, and inspiring. I recommend reading it together as a family (although I can't wait for the next chapter, so I read it on my own too).