I re read some of the Little House series a few years ago when my elder boys were about four and six and found that aside from the cosy Ma and Pa atmosphere I remembered and loved, they are packed full of fascinating information. If I arrived on the banks of Plum Creek now, I would actually have some idea how to build my own house.
All-of-a-Kind Family is like that. There's a loving Mama and Papa and not a huge amount of money, but what both I and my eight year old enjoyed was the details. The food they bought at market, the treats purchased with their saved pennies, the details of preparations for The Sabbath, and what they saw on a daytrip to Coney Island. One memorable paragraph tells what the sisters wore under their dark woolen dresses;
"..three petticoats, a woolly, flannel one first, a simple cotton one next, with both of these topped by a fancy muslin garment which was starched to a scratchy crispness. In order to save money, Mama made these petticoats herself. Still further underneath was long woolen underwear, over which were pulled heavy knitted woolen stockings, making thin legs look like well stuffed frankfurters."
Wonderful. For ages seven up.
I had a bit of energy last night at bedtime so said yes to Eloise for my almost four year old.
Its a longish nighttime read but very, very enjoyable. American readers will be familiar with this mischievous heroine but she was new to us last Christmas.
My sons favourite part is cutting the doll in half.
Along with quite a few other not-child-friendly items. For kids who like a bit of danger, or at least reading about it from the safety of their warm beds. Ages 4 and up.