Sunday, October 26, 2008

They just don't make 'em like they used to

Awhile back, I wrote about how much we love the Martha and Charlotte Books, and about how we grieved to see them undergo abridgment surgery. These books have become part of our shared family history.

It's currently on my mind, because I'm reading the Martha Books to Ramona. This is to be her "Little House" year, and she was adamant that we start at the very beginning. I was going to alternate Martha books with Laura Ingalls Wilder's books, but Ramona would have none of it. After the first Martha book, she insisted that we read the whole series with nothing else in between.

We finished Little House in the Highlands one evening last week, while Anne-with-an-e and Betsy were out with Atticus. When the girls got home, they were shocked and dismayed that I'd had the gall to finish it without them.

"But Duncan is awesome in that last chapter! I love that chapter!"

"I know," I said. "He really is a great brother, isn't he?"

"Uh, yeah! I can't believe you didn't wait for us to get home!"

I felt awful -- as if I'd let them sleep through Christmas morning, and later told them, "We didn't think you'd mind if we opened your presents."

Because, as much as my older girls have said they didn't need to sit down for every, single reading of Little House in the Highlands and The Far Side of the Loch (which we just finished tonight) because they know these stories inside and out, somehow they keep drifting into the room when I read. They laugh and reminisce and then begin speaking in lovely Scottish brogues.

I remember our enchantment when we first discovered the books, and it delights me to share them all over again with Ramona, whose eyes lit up when she realized that Martha, in the first book, is exactly six years old, a Ramona kind of age. To watch my youngest daughter laugh, and get the jokes, and then become serious at all the right moments, especially when Martha loses her beloved Lady Flora doll, to see Ramona nod in solemn understanding when the author so skillfully describes what grief feels like to a six-year-old ... well, I don't have to tell you how lovely that is, even though I just did.

If you're hoping to find unabridged copies of the books, there are still some out there, and Melissa Wiley points you toward them in this post.

And next up for us? Ramona can't wait to start Down to the Bonny Glen. Her brogue is getting better every day.


sarah p said...

Darn, my comment didn't work. It was just a short note bristling wildly with praise for the Wiley books - we love them here too.

Joann10 said...

I love when the big kids are "secretly" hanging around to listen to a read aloud. My 16 year old son missed the end of the Wind in the Willows the other evening, and when he found out we had finished he was totally bummed out. He then took the book into his room and finished it himself! LOL