Saturday, June 4, 2011

Book Review: In Grandma's Attic

In Grandma's Attic. Arleta Richardson. 1974/2011. David C. Cook. 144 pages.

From Pride Goes Before a Fall:
"Grandma, what is this?"

Grandma looked up from her work, "Good lands, child, where did you find that?"

"In the attic," I replied. "What is it, Grandma?"

Grandma chuckled and answered, "That's a hoop. The kind that ladies wore under their skirts when I was a little girl."

"Did you ever wear one, Grandma?" I asked.

Grandma laughed. "Indeed I did," she said. "In fact, I wore that very one."

Here, I decided, must be a story. I pulled up the foot-stool and prepared to listen. Grandma looked at the old hoop fondly.

"I only wore it once," she began. "But I kept it to remind me how painful pride can be." 

I grew up loving the Grandma's Attic series by Arleta Richardson. The first four books in the series--In Grandma's Attic, More Stories from Grandma's Attic, Still More Stories from Grandma's Attic and Treasures from Grandma's Attic--were some of my favorite books from childhood. How favorite is favorite? Well, let's just say that Mabel, Roy, Reuben, and Sarah Jane were as familiar, as beloved as say Laura, Mary, Ma and Pa Ingalls, Ramona and Beezus Quimby, and Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter Pevensie. These weren't books that I read two or three times and forgot about (like the Babysitter's Club), no, these were books that I read dozens of times. These were books that I read so much that all the pages were loose and the spine practically nonexistent. If books could be made real--like Velveteen bunnies--then these books were real.

So I was super-excited to learn that David C. Cook is releasing these books again! The first two, In Grandma's Attic and More Stories From Grandma's Attic, are available now. The other two, Still More Stories from Grandma's Attic and Treasures from Grandma's Attic will be released in August. And a wonderful "treasury" of all four books will be released in October.

So the framework for this book--for all the books--is a storytelling format. A little girl is asking her grandmother to tell her stories. These are stories about the grandmother's childhood. These are stories about her grandmother's family. There are stories about attending school in a one room school house; stories about attending church; stories about life on the farm--the chores and hardwork that went into it; stories about the 'excitement' of going into town for a day of shopping. There is something undeniably charming about these stories. Through these stories, a family does come to life. And our lives are richer for it, I think!

So the stories in In Grandma's Attic are:

  • Pride Goes Before a Fall
  • When God Knew Best
  • The Red Bonnet
  • Ma's Busy Day
  • Grandma's Mistake
  • The Button Basket
  • Little Gray Shoes
  • Nellie and the Buttons
  • The Pearl Buttons
  • Nellie's Trips to Town
  • The New Pump
  • You Can't Always Believe
  • The Old Door
  • Pa and the Dishwater
  • The Dishes
  • Ma's Birthday Cake
  • Grandma's Warm Clothes,
  • Grandma's Prayer
  • Molly Blue
  • Grandma and the Gun
  • What Grandma Lost 

The books are decidedly moral, decidedly Christian. Most--if not all--stories have a definite moral or lesson attached to them. And these lessons are clearly stated or restated at the end of each story so there's no possibility of missing what the author wants you to know. Technically, I suppose this makes these stories didactic in nature. And technically, "modern" readers are supposed to frown on didactic literature whether they agree with it or not. But. You won't be hearing me complain. No. I still love these books. I do. There's no talking me out of it. Call me old-fashioned. But I will stay a loyal fan of these!

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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