In a lot of the older books in my library, there are those cards in the back where the kids used to sign their name to check the book out with the due dates stamped on. Several of the previous Newbery winners from the 20’s and 30’s had these cards, but not a whole lot of check outs. Usually only 2 or 3 students’ names were signed on the card. I picked up Caddie Woodlawn, and I couldn’t help but check. Here’s what I found.
As you can see, the card was completely filled out. You can’t see the back, but it was completely filled out as well. This got me excited about reading Caddie Woodlawn for the first time. Even if I didn’t like it, this book has obviously stood the test of time, and some of my students would probably be into it.
I wasn’t disappointed. Caddie is a brave, kind character, and I found her story to be a fun one to read. If I had any complaints, it’s that her mother was a little bit racist towards Native Americans , and a lot classist. She calls her neighbors “poor trash” at one point because they couldn’t afford her turkeys and wanted her to lower the price. I don’t mind characters like that, but the narrator doesn’t seem to have much of a problem with it. I don’t want my student thinking this is an OK way to view the world. It may have spoiled a really good book for me. I didn’t ruin it, but it kept it from becoming a life-long favorite.
I’ll give it 4 out of 5 Newbery Pies.