Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Accidental Country Girl: Little Ree by Ree Drummond

Hi, I am Ree.

A long time ago, I used to live in a city

But I don't live there anymore.

Ree Drummond, the country cook known far and wide as "the Pioneer Woman," and also as the author of those popular Charlie the Ranch Dog books, wasn't born and bred a country girl. No sirree! Here's the story:

Today I moved to an old red house on my Grandpa and Grandma's ranch. They needed a little help, and I am just the girl for the job.

Bravely, little Ree says goodbye to all her friends and packs up her roller skates, Teddy bear, and keyboard. But despite her confident air, Ree's first day on the farm is not exactly fantastic. She finds that she's swapped her frilly pink bedroom for something that looks more like a cowpoke bunkhouse. She has a hard time sleeping, what with all the coyotes howling and the crickets chirping outside all night.

The country sure is noisy!

And then she has her first experience in getting up before the sun, and she's still half asleep when she meets her cowhorse, Pepper, who refuses to go where she wants him to go. And when it's time to feed the stock, Ree finds out that hay bales are way on the heavy side!

Maybe I'm not cut out to be a country girl.

But fortified with a hearty country pancake breakfast, Ree tackles lessons in the rest of the chores--tractor-driving, roping and riding the fences, and still more bales of hay to handle. She even has to haul her little brother out of the muddy farm pond. But Ree plugs on bravely, hoping to please Grandpa and not embarrass herself in front of her country cousins, coming for an outdoor barbeque that night.

But as we all know, little Ree makes the transition, with the help of her family. And in Ree Drummond's little memoir of that transition, Little Ree (Harper, 2017), she's clearly on her way to her adult career:

My cousins are the best!

I think the country girl thing just might work out!

Moving is hard for children, and Drummond's story of her own fortuitous move from city to country life is an upbeat story of how it's done, with the equally exuberant illustrations of artist Jacqueline Rogers to highlight the comic aspects of cowgirl training. For more stories of life on the grownup cowgirl's ranch, see Drummond's other picture books, including Charlie Plays Ball (Charlie the Ranch Dog), Charlie and the New Baby (Charlie the Ranch Dog) and Charlie Goes to School (Charlie the Ranch Dog). (see reviews here)

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