Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mary Emma & Company, by Ralph Moody


Another excellent read from Ralph Moody. I think I liked this one more than Fields of Home and very nearly as much as Man of the Family--largely because the Moodys are once again trying to make a living at odd jobs in a new situation. Ralph exercises his ingenuity and incredible work ethic, his mother works to provide for her family while also protecting their education and childhood.

I think I particularly like the way his sister Grace is portrayed. As a girl, she doesn't have the same ability to get the jobs Ralph gets, but she seems to be every bit as bright and hard-working as he is, and she gets her own sort of odd jobs and helps tackle family projects with gusto and creativity to match Ralph's. Although she doesn't get to go to school (education being less important for girls) she is presented as Ralph's equal, and they work well together.

In Little Britches, Ralph excelled at everything he tried and he was lauded by everyone he met. In this book, as in Man of the Family, he has to overcome obstacles to provide for the family, and his incredible talent, rather than being superfluous and suspect, is necessary--without it, the family might not have made it.

Here, too, Ralph encounters a new kind of injustice, in the form of a school teacher who has it out for him from the first. The teacher gets him into trouble with the law on more than one occasion, and for actions that were accidental or justifiable. Yet he bears the injustice with good grace--he addresses the police officer respectfully and answers honestly (in fact, it seems that the police officer ends up liking and respecting him in the end). He doesn't talk back to the teacher or complain about the injustice done him. He just buckles down and tries to stay out of trouble. In our current climate of whining and complaining about fairness and rights, his submission to authority is an excellent example.

All in all, this continues to be an excellent series--entertaining to be sure, but also convicting. The Moodys set a compelling example for children. If and when I have my own kids one day, I fully intend to read them this series. Hopefully they like it as much as I do.

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