Man of the Family

[openbook booknumber=”0803281951″]

[rating:4/5]

The second book in Ralph Moody’s series about his childhood, starting with Little Britches, picks up where the first left off with Ralph now being eleven years old and becoming the “man of the family” in the wake of his father’s death.

While having a lot of the same strong messages and themes that Little Britches had, namely morality, hard work, honesty, and the meaning behind being a respectable man, this book took a much lighter tone even if it had a dark beginning. With the family’s main form of income gone his mother starts up a cookery route, and with the help of all the children they do odd jobs around town to help earn money to get by. Meanwhile Ralph’s mother refuses to let Ralph drop out of school no matter how tight that made things at home, he wanted to be the man of the family and earn money full time at a man’s wage, but instead he had to learn patience and to think of long term consequences to his actions. Good lessons for life.


We argued most of the way home. I thought it would be nicest for Hal to take his two dollars in to Mother first, bu Muriel didn’t think so. She always wanted to do things as if it were a play. “That wouldn’t be any good,” she said. “If Hal goes in first and gives her the money, she’ll start crying right away. But if you give her yours first, she’ll just say we were smart children to make so much money. And then I’ll give her mine, and she’ll say, ‘Why, why… where in the world did you get so much money?’ And then Phillip can give her his, and she’ll look like she thought maybe we’d robbed a bank. And then when Hal gives her his, we’ll all want to cry.”
       It worked just the way she thought it would.

This book was chock full of good humor throughout it all to offset the dire circumstances the family was in. The town sheriff took an interest in the widow with five small children and took to checking up on the family regularly. As I was reading this aloud to my husband I got to saying with a certain inflection that got us both laughing every time the sheriff showed up and bellowed, “Howdy, Miz Moody. Fine mornin’, ain’t it?” Even the children in the story got to teasing their mother about that and I think if they had stayed in Colorado he might well have married her.

The ingenuity Ralph and his family showed again and again in coming up with more and new ways to make money and work hard to get by showed that the lessons of Little Britches paid off, and it was really inspiring reading about a family struggling without a male figure head, in a time when a woman could not be a real breadwinner, and making it.

Again, the writing was simple and straight forward, very easy and clean to read. An ideal book for a ten year old to read and an easy book, and series, to get into. It also has a lot of strong messages, this one included new ones about patience, making the right decisions, and economy in hard times. A good message for the times we are living in.

This book was a lot more fun to read, and even though it had another ending with a bit of a punch in the gut, I have a feeling that Ralph and his family will continue to persevere in the next book The Home Ranch.

One Response to Man of the Family

  1. Fiction Books
    5:04 pm on April 10th, 2010

    I am not a good fiction admirer, but I like it.

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