Monday, March 21, 2011

Caddie Woodlawn

The library once again has allowed me to visit a favorite book on CD. Caddie Woodlawn still lacks the marketing that Laura Ingalls Wilder has received over the years. Caddie Woodlawn is a wonderful story of a girl growing up in Wisconsin during the Civil War. She had an unconventional childhood as a tomboy. Her father granted her this option after losing another child to illness. Her other sisters were raised in a more traditional manner, but Caddie was her father's experiment. He wanted to see if she would be healthier and more able to resist the dangers of life on the frontier if she had the exercise and physical experiences of her brothers.

The story provides readers with an interesting perspective on relations between Native Americans and the settlers. Some have deemed the stories politically incorrect. I believe the stories actually demonstrate the fear that existed. If we do not discuss how fear emerges, it is difficult for children to learn how fear and prejudices emerge.

The story also deals with some interesting information. Reading Caddie Woodlawn as a child was the first time I was introduced to the idea that people paid others to meet their obligations for fighting in the Civil War. I would later encounter this again in Little Women. While I researched this independently, I never found this information in my history textbooks.

Caddie Woodlawn also addresses the issue of immigrants returning to their native country. Caddie's father was the younger son of English nobility. He left England and convinced his wife to leave Boston society and move to the frontier. He had never considered returning an option and felt strongly about his connection to his American home. The family is faced with a choice when her father receives notice that he must choose between his American home and the chance to claim his English heritage.

The children's adventures have always put Caddie Woodlawn on my favorites list. As I mentioned the Little House series continues to be well marketed, but Caddie Woodlawn has amusing stories that do not get the same recognition.

Caddie Woodlawn Resources:

Caddie Woodlawn Study Guide Gale Schools

Paper Dolls


  1. People didn't have to be all PC in those days because people had better things to do than to be offended LOL Thanks for the review! I love LIW stories, this might be another to check out!

  2. Never heard of this one but it sounds interesting. You gave a good summary. Looks like I need to make a trip to the library.