Children’s Library Corner: Alice-all-by-herself

Children's Library Corner

We want to welcome back Ruhama. It’s been a while, but being summer, it’s a great time to open up some new reads with the kids! And Ruhama has a great one this time. Seeing good books languish on the library shelves makes me sad, so I’ve come up with a few pairings to get you to try some of these ‘older’ titles, triggering your memory with something that’s considered a classic. Today’s offering is: If you loved Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink, then try Alice-all-by-herself, by Elizabeth Jane Coatsworth!


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Alice-all-by-herself Summary

Alice lives with her parents in Maine, and loves exploring the world. Written in the 1930s, this book may feel a little dated, but there are surprising similarities, such as Alice feeling bored and restless near the end of the school year. Each chapter, which reads like a vignette, features a different adventure, many of which can still be experienced today! Between picnics, hikes, boating and making connections with others in the community, Alice leads a rich life, and can inspire you and your family to do the same.

Children's Library Corner: Alice-all-by-herself
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The Project Ideas to go with Alice-all-by-herself

Take time to visit something local that is considered a tourist attraction: “We’ll go thousands of miles to see some wonder, but never the one that’s just across the street” (p 5).

Alice has a couple of boat adventures in the story: have one of your own! Either find a place to rent a row boat and give rowing a try or take a ride on a boat around a lake (hopefully you won’t get seasick like Alice).

When the fair comes to town, Alice is determined to try everything possible. Visit your own fair and make a list of what you do. Compare your list to what Alice did (her list starts on page 53).

Surprise someone with flowers (it’s called a ‘green shower’ in the story).

Visit an ice shanty and try your hand at ice fishing.

To Alice, the running of the herring and eating dandelion greens means spring is on the way. What does spring mean to you?

Have you seen a run of fish? Check out the salmon that go up the river in Milwaukee, WI

In chapter 13, Alice finds herself an old artisan who teaches her some of his trade. Find yourself a grandma or grandpa and learn an art from him or her: sewing, cooking, fishing, etc. Soak up the wisdom of the older generation.

The Food Ideas

Apples figure prominently throughout the book—find an orchard that lets you pick your own and enjoy one straight from the tree.

There are a couple of picnics in the story—plan one for yourself! In chapter 3, Alice and her parents go into the woods and in chapter 9, Alice, her mother and some friends have a picnic in the snow.

Several times, when Alice visits a home, the hostess offers a treat: caraway seed cookies, gingerbread and molasses cookies.  Try one of these recipes:

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