Christmas in Sweden, c.1930

Flicka Ricka Dicka and Their New Skates by Maj Lindman

What a lovely Christmas gift this book, with its accompanying set of triplet paper dolls, would be for a doll-playing or ice skating little girl. Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka are Swedish triplets from the 1930’s who each receive a pair of “shiny skates on white shoes” for Christmas. The three blonde Scandinavians go to visit their Uncle Jon and Aunt Lisa after Christmas, and as they are out skating on the pond they make a new friend and have a rather breath-taking adventure.

This new edition of an old storybook, published by Albert Whitman & Company, comes with the afore-mentioned paper dolls. (DO NOT buy paperback editions of these books. The paperbacks are poorly constructed, and the pages fall out with only a little wear.) The illustrations, and the paper dolls, are beautiful, and the story is old-fashioned and charming, with just a hint of danger to spice it up. I loved these books when I was a kid of a girl, and I love them now.

The other books in the series are:
Flicka Ricka Dicka and the Three Kittens
Flicka Ricka Dicka and the New Dotted Dresses
Flicka Ricka Dicka Bake a Cake

Flicka Ricka Dicka and the Little Dog
Flicka Ricka Dicka and the Strawberries
Flicka Ricka Dicka Go to Market
Flicka Ricka Dicka and the Big Red Hen
Flicka Ricka Dicka and Their New Friend
Flicka Ricka Dicka and the Girl Next Door

The ones in italics are the ones I have in my library. I wish I had all of the others—and all of the Snipp Snapp Snurr books, too:

Snipp Snapp Snurr and the Red Shoes
Snipp Snapp Snurr and the Big Surprise
Snipp Snapp Snurr and the Reindeer
Snipp Snapp Snurr Learn to Swim

Snipp Snapp Snurr and the Buttered Bread
Snipp Snapp Snurr and the Gingerbread
Snipp Snapp Snurr and the Yellow Sled
Snipp Snapp Snurr and the Seven Dogs

Snipp Snapp Snurr and the Big Farm
Snipp Snapp Snurr and the Magic Horse

There’s something about twins and triplets that just intrigued me as a child, and these books still suck me into the small, simple world of a trio of Swedish sisters (or brothers) growing up in the rural halcyon days of the early twentieth century. If it’s idealized, then perhaps we can use a little of the ideal from time to time.

If you like Little House: The Older (Golden) Years of Laura . . .

For the month of July, I’m planning a series of posts about readalikes: what to read (or what to suggest to your favorite child reader) when you’ve read all of your favorite author’s books or all of the books of a certain genre that you know of, and you don’t know what to read next.

On Saturday we talked about Little House (Laura Ingalls Wilder) readalike books for middle grade readers; today I have some prairie and frontier fiction for middle school, high school and even adult readers.

The Jumping-Off Place by Marian Hurd McNeely. Becky, Dick, Phil, and Joan, orphaned brothers and sisters, work hard to retain their Uncle Jim’s homestead in Tripp County, South Dakota at the turn of the century, early 1900’s. This book won a Newbery Honor in 1930, around the same time that the Little House books were being published, but it’s not nearly as well known. I put it here in this post for older children and teens because it’s a little darker in tone than the Little House books. A baby dies of snakebite; some homesteaders go hungry; life is hard. But the children/young people survive and thrive with grit and determination.

Patricia Beatty’s historical heroines are usually strong, spunky, and full of life and mischief. Often her novels have themes related to women’s rights, women’s suffrage, and feminism. These have a much more comical, individualistic, and adventurous tone to them than the Little House series, and they’re written for twelve year olds and older.
A selection of some of my favorite frontier fiction titles by Patricia Beatty:
That’s One Ornery Orphan. In Texas in the 1870’s orphan Hallie Lee Baker tries to get herself adopted, but her plan go awry.
Just Some Weeds from the Wilderness. In Oregon in 1873, Adelina Westlake, with the help of her niece Lucinda, goes into business, unheard of for a well-bred female, to save her family from financial ruin.
Something to Shout About. Thirteen year old Hope Foster and her family become the new residents of a new town in 1875: Ottenberg in Montana Territory.
How Many Miles to Sundown? Beeler Quimey and her pet longhorn, Travis, travel with brother Leo and another boy, Nate through Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona in the 1880’s.
By Crumbs It’s Mine. In 1882, thirteen year old Damaris and her family are traveling through Arizona territory in hopes of settling somewhere when her father catches gold fever and deserts the family for the gold fields of California. When Damaris accidentally becomes a hotel owner, the family calls on Aunt Willa to help.
Bonanza Girl. Ann Katie Scott and her mother move to a mining boom-town in Idaho Territory and begin to make a living by opening a restaurant.But how will they survive if the gold gives out?
The Nickel-Plated Beauty. In Washington state in 1886, the Kimballs order their mother a new, shiny, nickel-plated cookstove for Christmas. They keep their plan a secret and spend half the year working to try to pay for the beautiful new stove.
Hail Columbia! In 1893, Louisa’s Aunt Columbia bring her suffragette and other political ideas to the frontier in Astoria, Oregon.
O The Red Rose Tree. Also set in 1893, but back in Washington state, this novel features four thirteen year old girls trying to help an old woman complete her special quilt pattern.
Eight Mules from Monterey. In 1916, Fayette and her librarian mother try to bring library services by mule to the people living in and around Monterrey, California.

When Molly Was a Harvey Girl by Frances M. Wood. Molly pretends to be eighteen years old so that she can get a job as a Harvey girl at the famous Harvey House restaurant.

Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson. The orphaned sixteen year old Hattie Brooks decides to leave Iowa and move to Vida, Montana, to prove up on her late uncle’s homestead claim. In Montana in 1918, Hattie finds adventure, hardship, and family.
Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson. In this sequel to Hattie Big Sky, Hattie wants to follow in the footsteps of Nellie Bly and become a real newspaper reporter.

If you’ve tried all of these and the ones in the previous Little House readalike post and you still want more, let me know in the comments. I can probably come up with a few more authors and books to sate your appetite for girls and families in historical frontier fiction.

Reviewing Old Books: March/April 2016

“It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between. If that is too much for you, you should at least read one old one to every three new ones. Every age has its own outlook. It is especially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books…. Not, of course, that there is any magic about the past. People were no cleverer then than they are now; they made as many mistakes as we. But not the same mistakes. They will not flatter us in the errors we are already committing; and their own errors, being now open and palpable, will not endanger us.” ~C.S. Lewis

I have my Saturday Review of Books, a place for all the bloggers’ reviews from the past week to be linked and enjoyed. However, I thought today that it might be a good thing, once a week or once a month, to do a post where I round up the reviews I find of “old books”. We could all use a few more “old books” to season our reading lives and to give us a different perspective on things. Lewis was probably writing about really old books, written in classical Latin and Greek, but for the purposes of this round up, I’m going to go with 70 years old or more, so published before 1946. I’ll post the reviews I’ve come across this month of books more than 70 years old, and if you have written a review of a qualifying book or if you’ve seen one, please leave a link in the comments. I’ll be happy to pull it up into the post.

So, without further ado, the monthly (?) round up of reviews of old books, for your reading pleasure:

The Temple: Sacred Poems and Private Ejaculations by George Herbert (1633) at Operation Actually Read Bible.

An Account of the Life of Mr Richard Savage, Son of the Earl Rivers by Samuel Johnson (1744) at Tweetspeak.

Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville (1853) at Across the Page.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (1859) at Semicolon.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens (1870) at Happy Catholic.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain (1889) at Barbara’s Stray Thoughts.

Resurrection by Leo Tolstoy (1899) at Semicolon.

Beatrix Potter’s Tales (1902-1905) at Simpler Pastimes.

I Will Repay by Baroness Orczy (1906) at journey-and-destination.

Sir Nigel by Arthur Conan Doyle (1906) at journey-and-destination.

Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter (1913) at Living Books Library.

Peacock Pie (1913) by Walter de la Mare at Wuthering Expectations.

South! The Story of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Last Expedition, 1914-1917 by Ernest Shackleton (1919) at Margy Meanders/Powell River Books.

The Pastures of Heaven by John Steinbeck (1932) at Becky’s Book Reviews.

The Flowering of New England by Van Wyck Brooks (1936) at Faith, Fiction, Friends.

The Sword in the Stone by T.H. White (1938) at Barbara’s Stray Thoughts.

The Baker’s Daughter by DE Stevenson (1938) at Books and Chocolate.

New England Indian Summer 1865-1915 by Van Wyck Brooks (1940) at Faith, Fiction, Friends.

The Long Ships by Franz Gunnar Bengtsson (1941, 1945) at Brandywine Books.

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh (1945) at journey-and-destination.

For more “old book” suggestions and reviews, check out:

The 1938 Club at Stuck in a Book. Here are the links to reviews of books published in 1938.

Books of the Century website lists best-selling books by year beginning in 1900.

Back to the Classics Challenge 2016.

The blog Simpler Pastimes has a Classic Children’s Literature event going on, where bloggers can add links to reviews of classic children’s books written at least 50 years ago, so published prior to 1966.