Cowboys. Independence. Adventure. Decisions. Rewards. Consequences. My boys live and breathe this stuff and any stories that include them. Little Britches has been, by far, our family’s best read-aloud since Where the Red Fern Grows. I think it should be required reading in every home.
Ralph tells about growing up and learning to ranch in Colorado, and in the process gives humorous and touching lessons in every chapter. Our family ate this one up. If you like Where the Red Fern Grows or any of the Little House books, this one is for you. If you don’t, this one is probably still for you.
All my boys (ages 3-9) sat focused at reading time, ready to hear what Ralph was going to get into next. They were all moved to tears a few times and we had wonderful conversations about character, honesty, “the spirit of the law”, work-ethic and family. Even my four-year-old seemed to get a lot out of it!
The one “con” I can find about this book, and it is a major one, is all the petitions and pleading that will inevitably follow of asking for a horse, a donkey, a small-game trap, and a ranch in the mountains. Sigh. This suburban mom will have to work overtime camping this summer!
Ralph Moody was eight years old in 1906 when his family moved from New Hampshire to a Colorado ranch. Through his eyes we experience the pleasures and perils of ranching there early in the twentieth century. Auctions and roundups, family picnics, irrigation wars, tornadoes and wind storms give authentic color to Little Britches. So do adventures, wonderfully told, that equip Ralph to take his father’s place when it becomes necessary.
With fewer than 10 mild obscenities, I don’t believe that Little Britches requires a filter, especially as a read aloud. (Phrases like, “Well I’ll be d*mn*d” are said only a few times in the entire book).