I really like working on a series of books for read-alouds with Miss M in the summer — especially when I already own the books. It’s nice to just know what comes next and not have to think too hard or work too hard to find the next book. 🙂 Summer read-aloud time can be more sporadic for us since I read to Miss M right before bed, and there are more times of staying up too late to realistically do too much before-bed reading — so it’s nice not to be relying on timing our reading with books arriving from or needing to return to the library.
For this summer we decided on the “Little House on Rock Ridge” series by Roger Lea MacBride — aka The Rose Years series. This eight book series features Rose, the daughter of beloved “Little House” characters Laura and Almanzo.
The first book in the series, Little House on Rocky Ridge, opens as the Wilders are leaving drought-ridden South Dakota in search of a better life in Missouri. After their long horse and wagon journey, they need to find the perfect farm and get settled in before cold weather hits.
Once settled in their new farm, called Rocky Ridge, of course, Little Farm in the Ozarks and In the Land of the Big Red Apple continue the story of the family settling in and trying to develop a prosperous farm. Rose goes to school, makes friends, learns life lessons (all the stuff you might expect in a “Little House” sort of a book).
Fans of the original “Little House” series will probably enjoy these books as well, though they don’t quite have the same classic quality to me as Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books. It’s hard for me to put my finger on exactly what it is that makes me feel that way about these books. I did find it somewhat tiresome that some incidents from the original series are “re-told” in the Rocky Ridge series books in the form of family stories being told to Rose. While I’m sure this is helpful background to a small number of readers who didn’t read the other series first, I could have done without those passages.
Unlike many of the books in the original Little House series, the early books in the Rock Ridge series take place one right after another with very little elapsed time in between each book — or no elapsed time in the case of books #3 and #4! We started book #4, On the Other Side of the Hill, just before the Olympics started (completely distracting us from getting any bedtime reading aloud accomplished!) and it starts literally hours after book #3 ends! Reading the books one right after another also makes it feel odd that the background of some characters or key incidents are re-told in the text of each book. I suppose this is necessary for readers who may take longer breaks between each book or jump into the series mid-way, but it felt awkward to me. I can’t remember any moments like that in the original series (but we did take longer breaks between some of those books, so maybe I’m just forgetting about it!).
While I don’t usually go out of my way to plan any activities to go along with our bedtime read-alouds, I couldn’t resist buying a can of hominy after reading about the Wilder family making hominy in Little Farm in the Ozarks. Everyone in the family liked this not-common-around-here dish. We also spied a copy of McGuffey’s Third Reader in a gift shop last week — Rose’s class in school reads out of this book in Little Farm in the Ozarks and Land of the Big Red Apple. It was fun to show Miss M what Rose’s book would have looked like!
Miss M is thoroughly enjoying these books — to the point where I am wondering if she will complain when we get closer to the end of August and I will want to move on to our new “school year” list of read-alouds. Maybe I’ll just let her take the rest of the books we don’t read before the end of the summer and she can read them on her own (except that I do kind of want to find out what happens to Rose too!).
I’m linking up with Read Aloud Thursday @ Hope is the Word!