Grandfather's Dance

It was egg hunt day at the library last Saturday, and I hoped to take advantage of the large number of children coming in. So I hauled all the children's books left over from the book sale downstairs, and set up shop. Business was, sadly, slow, so I had time to read a new book-- Grandfather's Dance, the fourth in the series by Patricia MacLachlan that began with Sarah, Plain and Tall. I was very happy to revisit the Witting family again, and to see that all was going well; after the hard times they went through out there on their prairie farm, it is nice to see that a. none of the children have died b. they are prosperous enough to afford a new car without fretting about it.

This book describes a happy time--Anna, the oldest daughter, is getting married; the aunts come from faraway Maine, and little Jack, the youngest of the family, is cute as a button in his love for his grandpa, who is now fully a part of the family after a long period of alienation. But then it gets sad, and I sat next to my boxes of books with tears running down my cheeks, which would have put off my customers had they not been outside egg hunting.

I didn't read any of MacLachlan's books until I was a grown-up--as a child, I had no interest reading about someone described as plain and tall, and nobody urged it on me. I'm not sure what I would have made of this series. As a child, I revelled in the detail of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and I think I would have found these books too short and sparse. As an adult, I admire MacLachlan's clean prose, and think these books are beautiful, but I still wish they were longer--this one only lasted me half an hour.

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