Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Little Slaughterhouse on the Prairie?

It's true: you cannot judge a book by its cover. Or, apparently, by your mother's recollection of reading the book thirty years earlier. My eight year old daughter chose Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House in the Big Woods for our next nightly read aloud. She was charmed by Garth Williams' cover illustration of little Laura gazing fondly at the doll in her arms, surrounded by Ma, Pa, Baby Carrie, and Laura in a cozy looking log cabin. I told her how much I had loved reading about Pa playing his fiddle and Ma making butter with her daughter's help.

So my daughter and I were excited and my sons were doubtful as we all climbed on my bed Monday night to begin the book. What a surprise when pages 5 to 18 went into great detail about Butchering Time! The slaughter of venison, pig, and bear are recounted. The smokehouse Pa built from a hollow log is described in great detail. My nine year old son was rapt with fascination and my daughter had the horrified look on her face of someone who has fallen for the old bait and switch. My five year old son looked a little bored. The description of the making of head cheese only intensified these reactions. All I know is we'd better get to some corncob dolls and barn dances soon!


Andrew said...

If they like the details of butchering the animals, they should read "Where the Red Fern Grows" a great book about a boy with his dogs, the outdoors and skinning the raccoons they catch. Some very good dog fight and dog v. animal fight descriptions.

Christine said...

Thanks for the suggestion. I was considering buying The Dummy's Guide to Taxidermy or somesuch.