Saturday, February 4, 2012

Family Stories: The Fairchild Family series by Rebecca Caudill

Rebecca Caudill, author of The Best-Loved Doll, A Pocketful of Cricket (1965 Caldecott Honor winner), Tree of Freedom (1950 Newbery Honor winner), The Far-Off Land,  etc. wrote a lovely series of family stories, largely forgotten, but luckily back in print. I came across this series years ago when I was trying to find more books by the author after I read the charming A Pocketful of Cricket.

The stories featuring the delightful Fairchild family were first published in 1947 in children's magazines, and then compiled into a series of four books, lately republished in 2004 by Bethlehem Publishers with beautiful covers by Lydia Halverson. This episodic series, based on Caudill's family life growing up in the mountains of Kentucky in the early 1900's, is a treat to read, and the original internal illustrations by Decie Merwin are delightful. The Fairchilds are a family of seven: Father, Mother, Althy, Chris, Emmy, Debby, and Bonnie. Bonnie, who is four years old when we first meet her (and is based on Caudill herself) feels all the anguish of being the youngest in the family. But life is never dull with three sisters and a brother to play with, the woods to explore, the river to skate on, going to school for the first time, meeting new neighbors, inventing new games, earning money, etc.

I read these aloud to my girls a couple of years ago, when Olivia was six years old and Karina was four. Both girls were enthralled, always eager to listen to more Fairchild family adventures. These are books full of the simplicity and innocence of little happy childhood explorations and wonders, and shared family experiences.

The Fairchild books include:
Happy Little Family
Schoolhouse in the Woods
Up and Down the River
Schoolroom in the Parlor

And don't forget to check out other family stories featured in our on-going Family Stories series:
The Moffats (Eleanor Estes)
The Ingalls (Laura Ingalls Wilder)


  1. I've never read any of these, but I'm sure they'd be hits at our house, so I am putting them on my list. Thanks!