If you have not yet purchased copies of all of Melissa Wiley's books, head straight to Amazon.com, Bn.com, and your local bookstore and scoop up every new copy you can find. Because, soon, you won't be able to find new copies.
Lissa has been letting her readers know that things are changing for our beloved friends, Martha and Charlotte. It's not a pleasant change, either. Being Lissa, she does not harbor any ill will against Harper Collins for their decision to abridge and then reissue her books. She understands that publishers make decisions based on dollars and market trends. And, they must believe this is a savvy decision, from a bottom-line point of view (those are my words, not hers.)
But, this is so very sad.
It's sad from a number of points of view.
I'm sad that someone thinks he can pick up a beautifully crafted novel and simply chop part of it out to fit a length requirement. Isn't that akin to saying, "You need to lose a few pounds ... shall we just take an arm? What about a leg? It's all about the bottom line of what you weigh, isn't it?"
No. Really, it's not. It's about the beauty and complexity of how the thing fits together ... the mind, the limbs, the beating heart. How do we remove one of those vital parts?
And, I'm sad that someone thinks that children deserve "shorter" or "easy to read" or "less complex." Children deserve a quality story, and they deserve as many words and as many pages as it takes to tell that story.
And, I'm sad to know that Lissa won't be the one finishing out the stories of Martha Morse and Charlotte Tucker , whom we have come to know and love even more than Laura, Mary, Ma and Pa. My daughters and I have looked forward to Lissa's new books, ordered them with anticipation, jumped up and down when they arrived, and dug happily into them together. We've grown up, my girls and I, with these books over the last seven years.
With these friends.
I'm heaving a huge sigh here. An episode in our literary life is closing.
And I'm tearing up as I write this, because I'm remembering some correspondence with Lissa from a few years back, during the time when she wrote Across the Puddingstone Dam. She told me that she held in her mind (at least in part -- I'm sure she had other dear children in mind as well) my very sensitive oldest daughter as she wrote certain portions of that book. Something heartwrenching happens in "Puddingstone Dam," and this lovely writer and mother knew that she wanted to portray the episode in a way that was real, and moving, but not so traumatic that highly sensitive young souls couldn't take it.
And, isn't that the kind of person that you want writing books for your children?
Reread Lissa's words here (especially the last four paragraphs) to understand why buying new books is important. (The only one of her books that is out of print and must be bought used, at this point, is The Road from Roxbury.)
Then head to Amazon. And Bn.com. And your bookstore.
I have full sets of Lissa's books for each of my girls, and I think of them as treasures worth passing on. You won't regret this purchase, I promise.
To our dear Martha and Charlotte ... oh, how we'll miss you.
To our dear, dear Lissa ... we know that you have many more enchanting and inspiring novels in you. And so, although we'll miss our old friends, we will also look forward to meeting and getting to know new ones, to sharing their lives and adventures the same way we shared the beauty of Little House ... no matter how many words, no matter how many pages ... no matter how long it takes to tell their stories.