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Literature Unit: Caddie Woodlawn

Caddie Woodlawn was written by Carol Ryrie Brink. Although copyrighted in 1935, this book has remained a popular Newbery Award winner. This unit contains suggested activities to facilitate this book in your lessons. Due to its subject matter, this book fits in with both literature-based lessons as well as history-based lessons.

Book Synopsis:

Caddie Woodlawn is a collection of adventures that eleven-year-old Caddie has from the fall of 1864 to the fall of 1865 in western Wisconsin. The story is actually based on the real-life experiences of the author's grandmother's childhood and emphasizes the good things about being an American pioneer.

Caddie Woodlawn
Caddie Woodlawn's Family (aka "Magical Melons")
Using "Caddie Woodlawn" in the Classroom
Caddie Woodlawn audiocassette
Caddie Woodlawn on video


About the Author:

Carol Ryrie Bring was born in 1895 in Moscow, Idaho. Orphaned by the age of eight, she went to live with her grandmother and her aunt. Her grandmother, CAddie Woodhouse, told stories of her childhood and it is upon this stories that Caddie Woodlawn is based. Brink wrote a total of twenty-seven books for both children and adults. She passed away in 1981.

Suggested Activities and Discussion Questions:

1. Using descriptions in the book, draw pictures of the various characters as they appear in the story.

2. Using a Venn Diagram or a simple compare/contrast list, compare Caddie and her siblings with yourself. Compare things such as clothing, recreational activities, school, appearance, food, etc.

3. Why is Caddie allowed to grow up "tomboy-ish"? Do think this was the right philosophy for her father to take? Why or why not?

4. You may wish to read the sequel to Caddie Woodlawn as a continuation of your activities. The book is called Magical Melons.

5. Have a spelling be based on the suggested vocabularly words below.

6. Why do your think Mrs. Woodlawn said "You'll be the death of me if not yourself!" to Caddie? What you think she meant?

7. What did Caddie do to save Indian John and his people? Would you have done the same thing or something different?

8. What are your feelings about Mr. Woodlawn's explanation of the importance of women?

9. What did you think about the Woodlawn family's decision about going to England? Would you have done the same or something different? Give specific reasons why or why not.

10. At the end of the story, Caddie says that she is "the same girl and yet not the same." What do you think she meant by this? How had she changed? How had she stayed the same?

Suggested Vocabulary Words:

aristocrat
brooch
buckskin
comrade
consternation
cove
crude
dauntless
devoutly
dismay
enthralled
escapade
fervor
forsake
haughty
homespun
hoyden
hummock
incite
indolent
industrious
infamy
intrusion
irksome
irresolute
languid
lull
massacre
pandemonium
pioneer
piously
pitch
pliable
quagmire
reproach
savage
sedate
unfathomable
venison
vice
victuals
virtue

Other Books by Carol Ryrie Brink:

Goody O'Grumpity
The Pink Motel
Baby Island
Bad Times of Irma Baumlein
Strangers in the Forest
A Chain of Hands
Snow in the River
Buffalo Coat
Louly
Family Sabbatical
Four Girls on a Homestead

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