54. Laurie and Company by Eleanor Frances Lattimore
Laurie and Company by Eleanor Frances Lattimore (US) OUT OF PRINT
Pages: 128 pages
Finished: Mar. 25, 2010
First Published: 1962
Publisher: William Morrow & Company
Genre: children, realistic fiction
Laurie was a little girl who had to learn how to amuse herself.
Acquired: Borrowed a copy via Inter-Library Loan.
Reason for Reading: Lattimore is one of my favourite childhood authors and there is not a lot about her or her books available on line. One of my long term goals is to review every book she wrote.
Summary: Laurie's mother was widowed when she was just baby and they live in a beautiful yellow house out on the edge of the city where there are no children her age to play with so Laurie spends her time amusing herself. Her mother is a seamstress, a dressmaker, working from home to support the two of them. Of course, it helps that they are renting the house from Laurie's great Aunt Augusta. We see the determined busy life of a single mother in a time when this was not the normal topic to found in children's books and yet Lattimore treats the subject with no undue special attention. A few years later Laurie has made friends with some neighbours who have moved nearby with a girl her age and a brother. Laurie has also learned to sew by hand from her mother and she just loves sewing. With a fun hobby, new friends and a dog she loves dearly they find out that Aunt Augusta is selling the house and they must move to town and stay with her. Laurie is devastated, Mother is glad to be rid of the seamstress business, Aunt Augusta does not wish her to bring herself down by working anymore but Mother is determined to be self-sufficient (just doing something that has nothing to do with sewing!). Leaving the dog Royal behind with neighbors they start to settle into the apartment in the city but when Royal is reported missing several weeks later an new chain of events start happening that may just leave everyone involved perfectly satisfied.
A delightful, wholesome story that holds together well over time. Besides the aunt not wanting the mother to work for appearances sake doesn't feel old-fashioned as it does more small town quaint. With Laurie's sewing of small stuffed animals and the eventual resolution of the plot I think this will appeal to any little girl in her early years. Lattimore was well-known for writing at early reading levels and this would make a great first chapter book for young readers. Lattimore's own pencil sketches are, as usual, quaint but more detailed than in her earlier works. A lovely little story that will be enjoyed by fans of B is for Betsy or Hugo and Josephine.