Little Britches

Father and I Were Ranchers
Book cover: 'Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers'
Ralph Moody
University of Nebraska Press
Little Britches
Number of pages: 
260 pages
Grade / Age level: 

Little Britches is the first book in an eight-book series by Ralph Moody and came so highly recommended that I was concerned about being disappointed. We shouldn't have waited; it is brilliant! This book is particularly well-suited to being read aloud and will be enjoyed by every age grouping. It would be a wonderful book to have "Daddy" read to the family.

The titles in the series are:

  • Little Britches
  • Man of the Family
  • The Home Ranch (overlaps in time with Man of the Family)
  • Mary Emma & Company
  • The Fields of Home
  • Shaking the Nickel Bush
  • The Dry Divide
  • Horse of a Different Color

Little Britches is the first part of the story of the author's life, set in the early years of the 1900s. When he was 8 years old, his family moved from New Hampshire to Colorado in an attempt to improve his father's health. Life around the turn of the century comes alive for the reader and listeners, and the descriptions of holiday meals, special treats, school days, cattle ranching, and the weather are fascinating. The family faces many challenges that are still faced in Colorado, and the lessons they learn are applicable to all of us. Mr. Moody's father is a wise, soft-spoken, religious man who teaches his son not only what it means to be a rancher, but also what it means to be a man.

We enjoyed this book tremendously, and only partly because we can identify with the weather challenges and the fight for water rights that are a part of modern-day Colorado. We enjoyed it mostly because of the picture of a loving family, living a simple life, and working for the good of all. This story gives a more accurate picture of life on the prairies than do the Little House books, and its appeal spans a wider age range. There area few spots of cowboy-type rough language that are easily ignored if the story is read aloud. We heartily recommend Little Britches!

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