Synopses & Reviews
In "Little House by Boston Bay, meet Charlotte Tucker, an imaginative five-year-old girl who will grow to be the grandmother of American pioneer and writer, Laura Ingalls Wilder. Growing up outside of Boston during the War of 1812, Charlotte s life is filled with the day-to-day details of early American life. Although the world outside her family s house is embroiled in a struggle with England, Charlotte s thoughts are wrapped up in the enchanting fairy tales her mother tells and her new friend, Susan. But with tensions mounting between America and England, even Charlotte s life will be touched by the war. "Little House by Boston Bay is the first in "The Charlotte Years, a series of books about Charlotte.
Questions For Discussion: How does the War of 1812 effect Charlotte and her family? How does Charlotte feel about the war? Does everyone in her family feel the same way? Charlotte s mother, Martha, still makes most of her family s clothes by hand, even though store-bought cloth is getting easier to buy. What part does the war play in making store-bought cloth more available? How are inventions changing the way Charlotte and her family live? Charlotte s father is a blacksmith, unlike Martha s father who was an aristocrat or Laura s father who was a farmer. What are the similarities and differences between these professions and the lifestyles of these 3 different families? Charlotte s parents are from Scotland and her mother often sings Scottish songs and tells stories from her native land. Where is your family from originally? What sort of traditions does your family share with you? There are manydescriptions of food throughout Little House by Boston Bay, and Martha, Charlotte s mother, spends a lot of time preparing meals for her family. Why? Does your family spend as much time preparing meals? In what ways is food easier to prepare today? At the end of the book, Charlotte realizes that even though the war broke up the Saturday family and took Will away, it also brought Susan to Roxbury which was a good thing. Have you ever had something difficult happen in your life which also made something good happen? Why does Charlotte go to school in the summer, while her older brothers and sisters go in the wintertime? What are some of the similarities and differences between her school and yours? Would you want to go to a school like Charlotte s? Does Charlotte s mother, Martha, still have any of the characteristics she showed as a child in "Little House in the Highlands? Does Charlotte as a mother in Little House in Brookfield resemble Charlotte as a little girl? In what ways would you like to be the same when you grow up? In what ways would you like to be different? What are some of the similarities and differences between Martha s childhood in Scotland and Charlotte s in the United States? How is Laura s life on the Western frontier the same or different from Charlotte s on the east coast?
It's 1814 and five-year-old Charlotte Tucker lives with her family in the town of Roxbury, near the bustling city of Boston. Life in the Tucker's little house has always been pleasant and merry, but Charlotte's family worries more and more about the war that's been going on since 1812. Now the British have gone and blockaded Boston harbor, and that means no molasses for supper. Charlotte is just beginning to realize that events happening far away can change things at her very own dinner table. What will the rest of the year bring for Charlotte and the Tucker family? The Little House saga continues!
From Little House by Boston Bay:
Saturday night had a cozy, comfortable feeling. A Saturday supper meant thick slices of brown bread on the plates beside the baked beans. It meant coffee for Mama and Papa instead of tea. And it meant three things in the middle of the dining-room table--the three members of what Charlotte privately thought of as "the Saturday family." There was the mother, a tall, delicately curved cruet of cider vinegar; the father, a squat redware molasses jug with a jaunty handle and a friendly chip on the rim; and between them, cradled in a glass dish, the butter baby.
Charlotte had never told anyone about the Saturday family--it was nice to have a secret all her own. Besides, her brothers would tease her about it. Twelve-year-old Lewis would tease because he was a teasing kind of person, and Tom, who was seven, would tease because he did everything Lewis did. Lydia never teased, but she would either be not at all interested in the secret, or much too interested, and she would take over the game and change it. Charlotte did not want it to be changed. Like Saturday night itself, the Saturday family was perfect just as it was.
About the Author
Melissa Wiley, the author of the Charlotte Years and the Martha Years series, has done extensive research on early-nineteenth-century New England life. She lives in Virginia with her husband, Scott, and her daughters, Kate, Erin, and Eileen.