Saturday, March 2, 2013

Bears on Hemlock Mountain

This book was assigned with our Language Arts curriculum last semester, but we never got around to reading it.  It has been sitting on a shelf waiting for us to get to it.  We just read another book, by this author, so I thought it would be a good time to read it.  We enjoyed it - even more than The Courage of Sarah Noble.  It has the same simplicity as Courage, but more action.  The Bears of Hemlock Mountain by Alice Dalgliesh was a hit:
The plot, like in Courage, was simple.  The main character is an eight year old boy, so this book would appeal to a male reader more than Courage.  The book is set near a mountain in a time before they had telephones.  The protagonist, Jonathon, is from a large family.  His mother is planning a lunch (following a christening) for 23 relatives.  She needs to borrow a "big iron pot" from one of Jonathon's aunts so she can make a stew for that lunch.

She sent Jonathon on an errand: to walk over Hemlock Mountain to his aunt's house and borrow her "big iron pot."  Jonathon loves animals and brings carrots for the rabbits, nuts for the squirrels, and bread crumbs for the birds.  But, he fears the bears of Hemlock Mountain. 

Needless to say, he accomplishes his errand and he encounters bears on Hemlock Mountain.  But, nothing scary or potentially upsetting occurs in the book.  It is completely G-rated. 

The girls enjoyed the book and I was able to read it to them in one sitting (about an hour).  We were able to discuss what a christening was, why Jonathon's aunt did not know why he was visiting her (because there were no phones), and how young children at that time could be sent by themselves to walk in the woods, interacting with wild animals.  It is so different from our lives: I don't even let my girls walk to the mailbox by themselves.

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