Friday, June 4, 2010

Family-Friendly Friday: If at First You Don't Fricassee . . .

Do you read together as a a family?

One of the great joys of reading books out loud as a family is the shorthand that develops.  A book everyone, or nearly everyone, in a family has read or the whole family has listened to aloud, is fodder for great family memories.

One of the most hilarious of these for our family relates  to Caddie Woodlawn, one of our favorite novels from one of our favorite authors, Carol Ryrie Brink.  Caddie Woodlawn is about a pioneer family in Wisconsin; I like to describe it as a funnier and more energetic version of the Little House books.

In the novel, Caddie's little brother finds it difficult to memorize even his short little poem ("If at first you don't succeed, try, try again...(a poem you can find in Favorite Poems Old and New....)
 for a school recitation. His older brother taunts him with "If at first you don't fricassee, fry, fry a hen" until he freezes at the recitation and recites the "fry a hen" version instead of the original. The teacher is mad until Caddie and the guilty brother explain the situation, and all's well that ends well.

Some years back, halfway through a long drive to visit my parents (sans husband, with children), I thought it an excellent time to rig up our portable DVD player to let the kids watch a movie. It was intensely frustrating to get the straps "just so" to make my little movie critics in the back reasonably happy with the set-up, and I have to admit I was doing it with more than the usual amount of "irritable monologue."  If you're a parent, you know what I mean by "irritable monologue."

When it was all in place and movie was about to start, and I could continue driving the long hours onward east, my  oldest daughter said encouragingly, "See, Mom, you didn't give up and you tried different things and you made it work!! Good for you!" Pause. Then, in her then sweet 9-year-old voice, "If at first you don't fricassee, fry, fry a hen!"

Giggles all around.  We still like that expression.

What are your favorite book lines from a book your whole family has read or knows well?


  1. Which poem collection?? The link is not working.

  2. I will try to fix it, but it is Favorite Poems Old and New by Helen Ferris. I love that collection!