Sunday, October 02, 2011


Texas Tomboy, Lois Lenski, J B Lippincott Company, 1950, 180 pp


Charlotte, who prefers to be called Charlie, is an eight-year-old growing up on a Texas cattle ranch. She loves to ride out with her father everyday and help him with ranch duties. She has no interest in wearing dresses, helping her mother in the house, or going to school. She memorizes a poem only so her uncle will get her a horse. She is the Texas Tomboy.

Texas is in the third year of a drought. Not a drop of rain has fallen, the cattle are dying of thirst and hunger, and Charlie's ranch is in danger. For her mother, ranching is too hard and stark. She longs to move into town and tries in vain to get Charlie to act like a girl.

I liked this story as much as my other well-loved Lenski books, because Charlie is one of the most complex characters yet. Her stubborn determination is looked upon as selfishness by her mother and older sister, but her dad encourages her to becomes a ranch woman. His only son, the youngest in the family, is not a sturdy lad and is a bit of a mama's boy.

Because of their war with nature and the hardships, Charlie grows up fast and learns to understand the people around her but she never loses her sense of who she is and what she wants. As it turns out, the mother is the selfish one but she learns her own lessons.

Good stuff. I wish I had read this one when I was growing up.

(Texas Tomboy, like all of Lois Lenski Regional Series, is out of print and best found in libraries with a good children's section.)

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