Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesdays Tomes: A Day at the County Fair by Alice Hale Burnett

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of vintage books available free on-line.

A Day at the County Fair by Alice Hale Burnett

A Day at the County Fair is another book in the young children’s series about the town of Merryvale: a girls’ tale this time. What a terrible book!! Poor little girls if this is what they had to read and to look to for role models.

The story opens with Mary pushing Jerry on the swing.

"Oh, push it harder, much harder, so I can go away up to the tree tops," cried Jerry. "Don't you just love to fly through the air this way?"

“…I'll give you a fine swing (too)," promised Jerry. "You'll think you're in an airship."

"Indeed you won't," protested Mary. "It's horrid and makes me feel ill.

And there you have it…exactly what is wrong with this book. Young Jerry’s spunk is immediately put down.

Beth invites the girls to go on a day trip with her Uncle Billy to the county fair. At the fair, the girls ride the merry-go-round, eat ice cream, watch boys chase greased pigs for a prize, watch other boys climb greased poles for a prize and buy a raffle ticket for a prize (The message being that only boys may be active.)

Jerry even says at one point, “"Lots of times I've wished I were a boy," sighed Jerry. "Nobody ever seems to mind what they do."

Even the dialogue is a big disappointment-in “Christmas Holidays at Merryvale” (a boys’ tale) the boys came alive and each had a distinct and interesting personality…here the girls are just ciphers for how girls are supposed to be-not real children at all. And just in case any little girl reading this has not quite got it yet, here are the last two lines of this dreadful book:

"You're the very best uncle in the world," she told him. "We've all been happy, but I've been the happiest of all."

"You always will be, Beth, because you have found out that the greatest joy is in doing for others."

Cheerfully read by Kara Shallenberg, you can download (LOL if you really must!) this free audio-book here or read on-line the free e-book with illustrations here.


Jan said...

Great illustrations!

School Librarian said...

Do you know any biographical information about the author Alice Hale Burnett? I see most of her books were written between 1913 to about 1919.