Louise’s birthday is coming up in about a month, and lately she has taken great delight in picking out what type of birthday cake she wants (chocolate!),
reminding us of what she wants for her birthday (pink cowboy boots!!), and generally asking us to reconsider our joint-birthday party/swimming party we’ve begun having in the middle of the summer in honor of both girls’ birthdays (she wants her own party!!!). Truly, much of the fun of a birthday is the anticipation, right? I think so.
That’s why my girls enjoyed Winona’s Pony Cart by Maud Hart Lovelace so much. They could relate to poor Winona Root and her desire for a pony for her birthday–a pony that her mother thinks she doesn’t need and her father says they can’t afford. I think they could also relate to the fact that Winona just doesn’t want to leave anyone out of her party, so she proceeds to invite all fifteen of the children her mother chooses (‘though to be sure her mother actually sends the invitations) and then invites her own picks without telling her mother. Oh, the mayhem that is sure to ensue! My girls were bright eyed with anticipation over what could happen when Lottie and Letty and Dennie and Betsy and Tacy and Tib and the Syrian children all show up, plus the children of Mrs. Root’s friends.
I found myself enjoying Winona’s hijinks just as much as my girls did, and I wasn’t sure whether or not Winona would get a pony either, right up until the very end. It was also fun for all of us to read about Betsy, Tacy, and Tib again, even if they were on the periphery of the story. It was doubly enjoyable for me since I only recently read Emily of Deep Valley (linked to my review), and all of the girls, Winona included, make appearances in Emily’s story (‘though now they’re all grown up).
Winona’s Pony Cart is a very lighthearted story and very similar in tone to the Betsy-Tacy books. Winona is not a perfect child by any stretch of the imagination; in fact, she does some things that are downright deceitful, and she never really gets her comeuppance for what she does. But that’s the way things work in real life, right? In other words, this is not a morally instructive tale but rather a fun story about a little girl who acts like a little girl. I like stories like that–they offer opportunities for us to laugh but to also casually and objectively discuss the ins and outs of moral behavior.
This makes the fourth Maud Hart Lovelace book I’ve shared with my girls over the past couple of years. So far we’ve enjoyed all the Betsy-Tacy books that I think are age-appropriate for my little girls:
I have recently come across two more books by Maud Hart Lovelace that I want to read to my girls, only I think I’ll wait until the right season to share them: The Valentine Box and The Trees Kneel at Christmas.