Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
Some of my favorite summer reading memories involve Carol Ryrie Brink’s classic Caddie Woodlawn. I loved this book so much I remember being really sad when the publishers redesigned it and eliminated the classic Trina Schart Hyman cover, seen here:
Hyman captured the personality of the vivacious, strong-willed, brave, and just a bit reckless, Caddie. With her flowing hair and one strap slipping off her shoulder – Hyman’s Caddie is the one I think of when I remember these stories. Thankfully the publishers have retained the pen and ink sketches within the text so you won’t have to settle for the image of Caddie as portrayed on the current cover. Anyway, I passed countless summer hours reading and rereading the adventures of Caddie and her brothers. The Woodlawns lived on the edge of the American frontier and this provided ample opportunity for Caddie to exercise her free spirit. A tom-boy at heart she resists the domestic realm in favor of the wide open spaces of the prairie, the dangers of rushing rivers, even the unfamiliarity of an Indian camp. Brink based these stories on the recollections of her grandmother, the original Caddie Woodlawn, and captures the spirit of an age of adventure, hardship, and courage. When I finished Caddie Woodlawn the first time, I promptly reread it, I really hated for the stories to end. I remember being thrilled to discover the sequel, Caddie Woodlawn’s Family, at the library and proceeded to devour it.
These are summer classics – books that transport you to another time and place and make you wish you could stay. Wonderful to have on hand to give to a bored child who needs a bit of an escape.