Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers
By Ralph Moody
“A man’s character is like his house. If he tears boards off his house and burns them to keep himself warm and comfortable, his house soon becomes a ruin. If he tells lies to be able to do the things he shouldn’t do but wants to, his character will soon become a ruin. A man with a ruined character is a shame on the face of the earth.”
“There are only two kinds of men in this world: Honest men and dishonest men. …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.”
This was one of my favorite books when I was very young. I thought it might be time to revisit it. It did not disappoint, but I was surprised at one of the things I had forgotten! (see spoiler) Little Britches is the first book in a series of eight.
Ralph Moody’s Little Britches is set in 1906 when the Moody family moves to Colorado to work a dirt farm. Some people have referred to Ralph Moody’s books as Little House for boys. The narration is told from an eight year old boy’s point of view and has a sense of adventure about it. The story telling is down to earth and authentic.
The characters are rich and believable. Little Britches reminds me of the stories my grandmother used to tell me about working on the dairy farm and doing things like driving a milk delivery truck when she was a girl.
Ralph is given much freedom and responsibility. He regularly gets into scrapes as boys are apt to do. The book is full of strong moral lessons that flow from the story quite naturally. Ralph has a great deal of respect and love for his father, who is a quiet man full of wisdom and advice. The portrayal of the father son relationship is a touching one.
Mother regularly reads literature to the family and occasionally quotes the Bible. The family members also amuse themselves by performing plays.
This book is a picture of how life was during that short period of Ralph’s life and contains both humor and sadness.
An excellent read aloud.
I listened to the audiobook narrated by Cameron Beierle and found it to be well done.
Issues that may be of concern (contains spoilers)
There is minor language from cowboys, water wars, tornado, hard living, fistfights, spankings, farm injuries, general rough and tumble incidents such as being thrown from a mule, ill parent, serious illness, death of a parent
There is a mention, without any gruesomeness at all, of a water bag made of a whole dog skin. I have no idea how I forgot that!
The hardback I read as a child and now own is an edition similar to this one, minus the dust cover. I love the drawings throughout.
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