A well-loved book

Dear, sweet Milly-Molly-Mandy has come back to our house after several years of living on the bottom of the bookshelf. Lou and I had recently finished Little Men and moved on to a book that turned out to be quite scary. I thought it was exciting, but Lou had me stop after the second night of bad dreams.

The night after the bad dreams Lou handed me Milly-Molly-Mandy--a comfort book to be sure. It has been fun to see her enjoying the stories again--at age 9, she can really imagine running a shop by herself or being embarrassed if a neighborhood boy caught her outside wearing dress-up clothes.


Julia (named after her teacher) has also joined us each evening. Lou has not really played with dolls much for awhile now, but somehow Julia seems just right to accompany us into Milly-Molly-Mandy's world. Julia is a Q'ewar Project doll, made in Peru as part of a beautiful initiative to bring women economic independence.


Lou, Julia, and I are on the hunt for a new book. We've read all the Little House books, All of a Kind Family, the Ramona series, Carolyn Haywood's Betsy books, Alice in Wonderland, Anne of Green Gables, Little Men, A Little Princess, and more.

Anonymous –   – (October 7, 2008 at 10:39 AM)  

The Betsy Tacy Tib series are a great find - they go from age 5 till she gets married set in the 1900's. Creative ideas and Happy Reading. Author is Maud Lovelace and it based on her life. Read in order for best impact.

If you are a lover of the Little House series then read Author Roger McBride's book on Rose's life. It starts where Little House ends and life on the farm with Rose through her first job as a Bachelor Girl - again read in order.

Reading is such wonderful entertainment. I like you blog and the family life you create

Jennifer  – (October 7, 2008 at 10:45 AM)  

I don't get to comment as often as I'd like, but I eagerly await an In These Hills post in my RSS feed inbox!

My kids (though much younger) loved "The Trolley Car Family" (one of my own favorites from my youth), and I remember loving the Bobbsey Twins, Cherry Ames (a student nurse), and Trixie Belden (she's a sleuth, if I recall correctly, similar to the famous Nancy Drew). There was also a series about summer stock (theater) which I can't remember. I don't know how old I was for these, but I'm sure that the Bobbsey Twins at least is age appropriate. That said, haven't read them in years, so scan first!

Oh, and I glanced at my bookshelf... Anne of Green Gables? Narnia? L'Engle? I have so many fond memories... and now I eagerly await them being old enough to enjoy with me...

Jennifer  – (October 7, 2008 at 10:46 AM)  

oh, and do read "understood betsy" together - it's beyond lovely.

Carrie –   – (October 7, 2008 at 10:55 AM)  

I love that you read with your daughters! I have been trying to interest my 7 year old in reading a book together but so far it is a no go. He enjoys reading by himself instead.

How about Caddie Woodlawn or the shoe books by Noel Streatfeld? I remember loving them as a young girl. Another author I remember liking was Lois Lenski.

Hope this helps!

Maymomvt  – (October 7, 2008 at 10:57 AM)  

Lou loved the Rose series. I will go on the hunt for Betsy Tacy Tib!

Jennifer--I loved Cherry Ames and the Bobbsey Twins when I was a child. Maybe you're thinking of Ballet Shoes? I should try that again with Lou. Hels liked the first one.

Maymomvt  – (October 7, 2008 at 11:00 AM)  

Lou's teacher still reads with her 14 year old. She says it has provided her with both a way to keep an eye on reading comprehension and a way to talk about things they might find hard to discuss otherwise.

I confess that I stopped reading with Hels after she became a reader (although we do some reading out loud in the summer). I think Hels skips a lot in her books and would benefit from reading out loud with me, but she doesn't want to now. I'm trying not to do that with Lou.

Tammy  – (October 7, 2008 at 11:02 AM)  

Oh, definitely the Bobbsey Twins!!!

Kate The Great  – (October 7, 2008 at 11:13 AM)  

How about "Ballet Shoes" and Noel Streatfeild's other books...they are wonderful!

Dawn  – (October 7, 2008 at 1:02 PM)  

My nine year old suggests Rebbecca of Sunnybrook Farm, No Flying in the House, The Secret Garden, and Eloise. ;) She was so excited to offer her suggestions. She has read and loved many of the same books you listed. I'm going to go and order that Milly Molly Mandy book now...it looks so cute.

anthromama  – (October 7, 2008 at 1:15 PM)  

How about The Borrowers? I always loved those. Also the Edith Nesbit books are all about children getting into scrapes and adventures -- I like The Railway Children and The Enchanted Castle. I remember liking The Great Brain books, but they're a little odd! And Mary Poppins?

Tammy  – (October 7, 2008 at 1:20 PM)  

Oh yeah, forgot about No Flying in the House. That was a favorite of my older kids when they were that age too.

And, lol, I am like Dawn. I just looked for the Milly Molly Mandy book on our library website. We don't have it, so I found it on ebay. :)

patience  – (October 7, 2008 at 3:36 PM)  

Others have made some great suggestions I would have made myself. Here are some more -

My Side of the Mountain etc by Jean Craighead George

The Little House on the Prairie prequels by Melissa Wiley

The Edith Nesbit books were favourites here but they involve fantasy.

What about Enid Blyton? Famous Five, Secret Seven ... I lived on these books when I was nine!

Nicole  – (October 7, 2008 at 4:13 PM)  

The colors in this post are beautiful together, so gentle. When you wrote "at age 9, she can really imagine running a shop by herself or being embarrassed if a neighborhood boy caught her outside wearing dress-up clothes" It was fun for me to think about my oldest who is six, when he reaches your daughters age. There are only a few years in between age 6 and 9 but so much changes in that time! Milly Molly Mandy looks like a wonderful book to enjoy with a sweet dolly! And as far as Little House on the Prairie, I am not sure who loves it the most at our house the kids or myself!

coffeemamma  – (October 7, 2008 at 5:19 PM)  

My youngest (almost 8) squealed out "Happy Little Family!" when I asked her for ideas :-)

There are four books in the series (which take place in rural Kentucky in the early 1900's), they are very sweet,full of loving family interaction, and nothing scary! The author is Rebecca Caudill.

Lisa Anne  – (October 7, 2008 at 5:24 PM)  

Oh, Maver and Faver! We love Milly Molly Mandy! We loved the "Wonderful Adventures of Nils" together when Amelia was in 4th grade and especially loved "Finn Family Moomin Trolls" (any book, we read one together and then she read the rest, they are absurd and too funny) and E. Nesbit books and OH so many..."Thorkill of Iceland" (maybe wait until she starts norse myth.)

Lisa Anne  – (October 7, 2008 at 5:28 PM)  

Oh! the "Worry Week" you will really love it, 3 sisters decide to stay at their summer home without their parents. "The Penderwicks" is really good too.

Mary Corbet  – (October 7, 2008 at 6:03 PM)  

Hmmm....

The Boxcar Children

The Borrowers

Seven Little Australians

Beyond the Paw Paw Trees

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm

The Door in the Wall

The Trumpeter of Krakow

Island of the Blue Dolphins

Oh, golly. The list could go on...

But I'll spare you!

Best,
Mary

myartemismoon  – (October 7, 2008 at 7:07 PM)  

Oh I love all the suggestions so far, I'll add a few more from my childhood not already listed, Wind in the Willows, Pippi Longstocking, Swallows and Amazons series, Emily of New Moon Series, Charlottes Web, Paddington Bear series,
A very Australian selection of bushland fantasies "Bottersnikes and Gumbles", The Magic Pudding and Snugglepot and Cuddlepie.
Lastly some modern books : Little Fur series by Isobelle Carmody, Tashi Series by Anna and Barbara Fienberg and Kim Gamble.
I could go on and on but I had better stop there...

Growler  – (October 7, 2008 at 8:55 PM)  

The American Regional Story series by Lois Lenski...fabulous, fabulous, fabulous! For exmple, 'Blue Ridge Billy,' 'Strawberry Girl,' 'Cotton in my Sack'

pinewoodcastle  – (October 7, 2008 at 10:32 PM)  

Ha - we just started Milly-Molly-Mandy today after finishing Betsy Tacy (Lovelace was from MN!)! And many of these suggestions are on our bookshelf with the intention of getting read this year. I am taking notes!

My girls also loved Twig and Big Susan, both by the same author - I forget who. And we hope to read House Above the Trees and The Wind Boy by Ethel Cook Elliot.

bottomland  – (October 7, 2008 at 11:42 PM)  

Someone already said the Secret Garden, but that is definitely one of my favorites. Also, the Austen family books by Madeline L'Engle are great--some are for older kids, but they start at a fairly young level. The Chronicles of Narnia make for GREAT read aloud. I LOVED the Emily of New Moon books, and also Jane of Lantern Hill, all by LM Montgomery. As for newer books, I've heard great things about the Penderwicks and about the Mysterious Benedict Society. My daughter is only 3, so I haven't ventured into chapter books. Actually we're just reading Charlotte's Web for the first time, and it is so exciting to discover a chapter book with her.

BB  – (October 8, 2008 at 12:14 AM)  

I have read your blog now for a few months and I am amazed at the parallels to our life. Because of that, you might be interested in some of our favorites (I'll skip the ones that have been mentioned here by others): all books by Astrid Lindgren, but try Madita or the Lotta series; A Norwegian Farm, A Norwegian Family by Marie Hamsun; Esperanza Rising, Becoming Naomi Leon, and Ella Enchanted.

My girls are now 10 and 11 (almost 12) and they still love to snuggle up together before going to bed. It is such a peaceful way to end the day.

BB  – (October 8, 2008 at 12:15 AM)  

I have read your blog now for a few months and I am amazed at the parallels to our life. Because of that, you might be interested in some of our favorites (I'll skip the ones that have been mentioned here by others): all books by Astrid Lindgren, but try Madita or the Lotta series; A Norwegian Farm, A Norwegian Family by Marie Hamsun; Esperanza Rising, Becoming Naomi Leon, and Ella Enchanted.

My girls are now 10 and 11 (almost 12) and they still love to snuggle up together before going to bed. It is such a peaceful way to end the day.

BB  – (October 8, 2008 at 12:21 AM)  

I have been lurking around here for a few months and have been amazed at some of the parallels to our life. Therefore, you might be interested to learn some of our favorites (I leave out the many books already mentioned by others): pretty much everything by Astrid Lindgren, try Madita or the Lotta series; A Norwegian Farm, A Norwegian Family by Marie Hamsun; Esperanza Rising, Becoming Naomi Leon, and Ella Enchanted.

My girls are now 10 and 11 (almost 12), and they still love to snuggle up before going to bed. This is such a peaceful way to end the day.

Suse  – (October 8, 2008 at 5:41 AM)  

What a wonderful list! It's like when I asked my readers for suggestions for a 13 year old boy who was into crime/mystery stories and I was worried about what was appropriate. I got such a response!

I second the Swallows and Amazons series. I devoured them all myself as a youngster and have read them to all my boys.

And this is an opportune time to say that every time I see Enid Blytons in the op shop I pick them up for you. I was going to send them all as a surprise once I had a boxful, but I remember that Simmy brought you a huge heap. Could you email me privately and let me know which titles you now have so I don't double up? Then I can put any spares aside for another American Blyton-deprived family I know ;)

blessings
suse
x

Suse  – (October 8, 2008 at 5:43 AM)  

ps. I forgot to say that I have that same edition of Milly Molly Mandy and read it with Son #3 last year (aged 8 then). We both loved it.

And my friend Sandra (who runs Winterwood, the waldorf shop here in Melbourne) calls me Little Friend Susan now.

Margie –   – (October 8, 2008 at 9:37 AM)  

I really enjoy reading your blog, Sarah! Here are some of our favorites that feature resourceful kids:

The Penderwicks and its sequel, The Penderwicks on Gardam Street

The Mysterious Benedict Society

Everything on a Waffle

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

The View from Saturday

Chasing Vermeer

Suse  – (October 11, 2008 at 6:21 AM)  

Me again. I can't believe I completely forgot to say 'Rowan of Rin' which is the book I recommend for every nine year old.

It's very Steiner/Waldorf in many ways. You would LOVE it.

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