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Honey Bunch: Her First Days on the Farm by…
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Honey Bunch: Her First Days on the Farm (1923)

by Helen Louise Thorndyke

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Honey Bunch: Her First Days on the Farm is not one of the series I had and read as a girl. I first read it yesterday and found it very pleasant.

If you share my amusement when authors forget something from one book to another in a series, there are two differences in the first chapter of the first book. Then it was a Monday on which Mrs. Miller was doing the Mortons' laundry. Now it's a Tuesday. Mrs. Miller could have easily switched days, but how did Lady Clare's eyes change from green to yellow?

Norman Clark, who would later share billing with Honey Bunch, is introduced in this book. Honey Bunch misunderstands something Norman told her and thinks he's a very bad boy. If he had done what she thinks he did, he would be a definite candidate for reform school. Mrs. Miller sets her straight.

The Mortons have ordered an automobile. Mrs. Morton told Mrs. Miller that in the winter and it's almost summer. Daddy Morton drives it home as Honey Bunch is playing with her firiends. It's shiny and has white tires. Daddy gives all the little girls and Ida's big brother, Ned, a ride -- but the girls have to have permission from their mothers first. (Ned doesn't because he's in high school.) Mr. Morton has had his driver's license for two years. I didn't know that drivers needed licenses as far back as 1923.

One of the things I love about the Honey Bunch books, as I do with the Little House books, is learning about life in the past. Honey Bunch is surprised when the hotel they stop at to have lunch has a washstand. She's never seen one before. Another diner tells her what it was like to use a washstand in winter when he was a little boy.

Honey Bunch sees her first letter box further on. I didn't know that the mailbox little flag was once used to let people know they had mail as well as let the postal carrier know to feel around the bottom of the box for outgoing mail.

As always, Honey Bunch meets nice people along the way, such as the Popovers, in whose barn Mr. Morton drives his car during a thunderstorm. Quilters will probably enjoy Honey Bunch's reactions to Mrs. Popover's quilts. (She's won 20 prizes for her patterns at the State Fair.)

The farm, which belongs to David Morton's brother, Rand Morton, is called Broad Acres. The other Mortons don't have a maid, but they have a hired girl, Liny, and a hired hand, Michael. Honey Bunch is going to have a lot of fun.

I'm a real klutz, so I have sympathy for Honey Bunch's cousin, Stub -- although I don't recall ripping or dirtying my clothes as much as she does. Stub's biggest fault, in my book, is that she can be quite careless of her poor old dog. The time Buffy was left in the haymow was the worst. Stub can be careless of her cousin's feelings, too. She thinks Honey Bunch's ignorance of farm matters is funny.

The first book had Ned Camp's naughty dog. The second book had that bully, Lester Morris. This book has two brothers who are quite certain that eating the Mortons' green apples won't make them sick and six boys in Sunday School who would rather spend their pennies than put them in the collection box for the heathen. I got a good snicker out of the trick Honey Bunch played on those selfish boys.

Honey Bunch's thougtfulness saved her cousin's feelings in Sunday School and helped Liny when she had too much to do getting ready for the Grange picnic (after what she went through I certainly wouldn't want to try herding 30 little turkeys).

In one instance Honey Bunch's attempt to help was a disaster.
Liny's older brothers are working in South America. They've sent her a photograph of themselves, the only one Liny has. Liny is distracted and doesn't notice that her precious photo has fallen to the floor. The safe place Honey Bunch picks to put it is on top of her great-grandmother's 'Sun and Moon' Clock' on the mantle. When it's time to retrieve the photo, it isn't there! What could have happened to it? Honey Bunch is so sorry.

This site http://www.seriesbooks.com/cart/catalog.aspx?cid=178 mentions thick and thin editions of the Honey Bunch books before the dustjackets were changed in 1950. My copy of Honey Bunch: Her First Days on the Farm must be a thin edition because it's noticeably thinner than my copies of books two and four. An inscription on the back of the frontispiece reads, 'Shirley from Grandma Christmas '46'. Unless Shirley's Grandma gave her a used book for Christmas, I think mine must be a 1940s printing.

It has the same Marie Schubert end papers I described in my review of Honey Bunch: Her First Visit to the City -- and three of the same ads. The Honey Bunch, Bobbsey Twins, and Maida series have the same number of books listed, too. The different ad is for eight books in David Cory's the Little Indian series. The last book on that list is Chippewa Trail. ( )
  JalenV | May 1, 2012 |
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'Would you care,' Honey Bunch said politely, 'if I left the door a little open?'
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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