Martha, Charlotte, and Boys

April 17, 2009 @ 8:13 am | Filed under:

I’m bumping up this question from the comments because I thought some of you might be able to answer more authoritatively (pun intended) than I.

Dani Joy asks,

“I recomend your books to parents with young girls but do you think my boys might like to read the books? I havenΒ΄t thought they would but I haven’t read them yet either.”

The feedback I’ve gotten from parents, teachers, and, yes, boys!, over the years has been gratifyingly enthusiastic. I’ve been told there’s enough grit and adventure in the books that they appeal to young male readers as well as girls. Martha and Charlotte both have brothers, so there are as many boy characters as girl characters figuring prominently in the books. But would some of you parents of boy-children out there care to share firsthand reading experiences with Dani? Be frank! It’s ok if your answer is ‘my boys thought they were too girly.’

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17 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Willa says:

    My athletic “all-boy” really liked the books. In fact, I had to finish reading them to him in the car. He was the kind of boy that liked family stories though, like Eleanor Estes’. Anyway, case study of 1…. my older boys were too old when we got the stories (though they listened in the car too) and my younger ones aren’t that age yet. I’m thinking that if a boy likes the original Little House books he would probably appreciate the Martha and Charlotte books as well.

  2. Meredith says:

    Well, I can assure you that with my boys 10, 7 and almost 4, they have enjoyed listening to the Martha and Charlotte books every bit as much as my dd (who has read the entire series multiple times). Read on they will LOVE them!!!

  3. Jennye says:

    My 8yo boy simply adores the Martha and Charlotte books. Even my 4yo DS listens intently when we read them aloud. Our copy of Little House in the Highlands is completely tattered and has so much tape holding it together that I can hardly believe it is still readable. My son must have read it at least 20 times by now and one of these days I hope to own the unabridged sequels to this one and the Charlotte books, but for now must depend on the library.

    So toanswer your question – my son gives an unequivocal 2 thumbs up to these for boy reading. (He says his favorite part is when they are playing Picts and Scots and Martha rolls down the hill.)

  4. Joann says:

    They are hits at our house. Up there with the Gene Stratton Porter, Ralph Moody and similar living books. Not quite as high as the Field Guides to ________ (fill in blank with creature) and the American Boys Handy Book. Also way up on our list are Gary Paulsen and Robert Newton Peck. We’re beginning to experience Roland Smith. But Alcott and Shakespeare are also favorites among the fellows here. Although, none of my boys were very taken with Miss Alcott’s Rose books! LOL I think really good literature (amongst which I include Lissa’s) really transcends gender. My girls all liked Treasure Island and other more “male” classics.

  5. Jennifer says:

    I have read all these books aloud to my kids, and my oldest son loved them just as much as my daughter.

  6. Theresa says:

    Superboy loved them. He said to tell you they were “real page-turners” because he heard that was the highest compliment you could give an author!

  7. mamacrow says:

    My second eldest son, Roo (now 8) has LOVED all the little house books for several years, and we’ve read and re read them together. I havn’t been able to get hold of your ones yet πŸ™

    I’ve just got hold of the little house cookbook too, and that’s been a hit as well!

    As a child, I enjoyed stories that featured boys, as well as those that feature girls, so i’ve never seen why, necessarily, the reverse would not be true also.

  8. Hannah says:

    You know, I hadn’t thought of reading the Martha books to my 8 y.o. son (although I’m sure my 5.5 y.o. dd would love them, as she adores LHOP). I’m interested in the idea of listening to them in the car. Where does one get ahold of the books on tape or CD? Don’t seem them on Amazon …

  9. Dani Joy says:

    Wow this is great feed back!! I am so excited to go and get the books. now.
    I have been loving your web site and blog for a while now but have yet to buy the books. I will definitely put them on my wish list.
    Thanks for putting the question on your blog. πŸ™‚

  10. radmama says:

    My son loved the Little House books when he was 4-8. We haven’t revisited the series(or your books, now that we have them) but they were well loved then. They even inspired many a pioneer craft.

  11. Yvonne says:

    My 9 year old son–a history-hound–loves them, has been listening with his sisters for some years now.

    Thanks for the review of The Mysterious Benedict Society. I just finished reading it and my 12 year old is now taking her turn. I can’t wait to share it with the 9 year old and I can’t wait to buy a family copy. Some books you just have to own.

  12. Charlotte (Matilda) says:

    My 11 year old boy who voraciously reads and re-reads everything finished the first Charlotte book and said that while it was nice, he wasn’t really interested in reading the rest. It could be because he pre-judged them as “girly” before he picked them up since his younger sister has read them all. It could also be because his interest in historical fiction has waned a little bit. I swear he goes through reading phases just like the moon. I think the books would have fared better in sparking his interest had he been introduced to them when he was a bit younger or if we had introduced them as read-alouds first. He was very excited to get to express his opinion to the author. Thank you for the opportunity.

  13. Melissa Wiley says:

    Thanks, everyone, for the feedback. Theresa and Charlotte, please tell your boys I especially appreciate their contributions!

    Charlotte, the first Charlotte book is pretty young (she’s five in that one) and I can see how it might not be an older boy’s cuppa. πŸ™‚ He might enjoy the rest of the series more, as Charlotte gets older & ranges farther from home. There’s a nice gory infected finger/blood poisoning scene in Tide Mill Lane that seems to get a mention in every fan letter I’ve ever gotten from a boy. Hee. The boys also seem to like the Martha books better than the Charlottes.

    Re historical fiction: it’s funny–my favorite genre as a kid was fantasy. I enjoyed some historical fiction (especially Little House) but I’d have picked Wrinkle in Time over Old Yeller any day. Historical fiction is great fun to write but it can be painstaking work, having to fact-check every detail, every description or bit of house dressing. The two books I’m working on now (recklessly working on two at once, which I don’t recommend, LOL!) are both fantasy, though one is set in a historical context and requires a manageable amount of research as I go–nothing so extensive as the M & C books did. This isn’t at all relevant to the question at hand, but your comment about your son not like hist. fic. best made me think of it. πŸ™‚

  14. Christa Bartlett says:

    My almost seven year old boy is greatly enjoying Little House on Boston Bay.

  15. Charlotte (Matilda) says:

    Like I said, he goes through phases. He has enjoyed some historical fiction; right now, he is more interested in science fiction and fantasy. Regarding the infected finger, he is not your typical boy. He really doesn’t like stories of a medical nature. Right now, anatomy is not a subject I am looking forward to teaching him.

  16. Melissa Wiley says:

    Oh yes, that sort of thing is definitely not to everyone’s taste! πŸ™‚