Published on February 24, 2013 by Amy
Caddie Woodlawn is a children’s historical fiction novel by Carol Ryrie Brink which received the Newbery Medal in 1936 and a Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1958. The original edition was illustrated by Newbery-award winning author and illustrator Kate Seredy. Macmillan released a later edition in 1973, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman.
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Set in the 1860s, Caddie Woodlawn is about a lively eleven-year-old tomboy named Caroline Augusta Woodlawn, nicknamed “Caddie”, living in the area of Dunnville, Wisconsin, and her experiences with her nearby native american cousins.She is troublesome and the despair of her ladylike mother and sister. The sequel to the book, Magical Melons (1939), continues the story of Caddie and her family.
Brink was born and raised in Moscow, Idaho, in the Palouse region. Orphaned at age eight following her mother’s suicide, Brink lived in Moscow with her widowed maternal grandmother and an unmarried aunt; the grandmother had grown up on a farm in Wisconsin. In a preface to the later edition of Caddie Woodlawn, the author said the books were partly based on the life of her grandmother, Caddie Woodhouse Watkins (1853–1940), and her siblings: elder sister Clara, elder brother Tom, younger brother Warren, younger sisters Henrietta and Minnie, and Baby Joe.
The house where her grandmother had lived is now a historical site, about 12 miles (19 km) south of Menomonie, Wisconsin.
Children’s literature expert May Hill Arbuthnot says of Caddie Woodlawn, “this book is far less of a frontier story — settlers versus Indians — then it is the entertaining evolution of a tomboy. The fun Caddie gets out of life suggests the usefulness of this book in counteracting the overseriousness of most historical fiction.” Kirkus Reviews said it provides “an authentic picture of life on a frontier farm when massacre was a real threat and when a livelihood, hardly earned, allowed for fun in natural outdoor things”. Caddie Woodlawn won the Newbery_Medal in 1936.
Brink transformed Caddie Woodlawn into a radio drama in 1945.
In 1989, a made-for-television movie based on the novel was directed by Giles Walker with teleplay by Joe Wisenfeld and Richard John Davis. Several changes were made from the book, most notably moving the conflict between the settlers and Indians toward the end, and greatly increasing the role of the character Annabelle, Caddie’s cousin.
A musical, Caddie Woodlawn A Musical Adventure (The Caddie Woodlawn Musical) by Tom Shelton and Susan C. Hunter, Brink’s granddaughter, was also based on the book.