Title: The Dry Divide
Author: Ralph Moody
Series: Little Britches series, book 7
Major Themes: Nebraska, Kansas, Farming, Wheat, Horses, Family Read-Alouds, Memoirs, US History 1900-1950, Books for Boys
Synopsis: When Ralph finds himself stranded along the Kansas/Nebraska border, penniless, he finds a way to land on his feet and make his fortune again!
In our journey through the Little Britches series we have just finished The Dry Divide. What a story! There is one really shocking chapter, after a few chapters in which we wanted to shake someone up, and then an amazing rags-to-riches story. As with all the other books in the series, we loved this book and it was always hard to set it aside after the day’s reading.
This book begins the day after Shaking the Nickel Bush ends. Ralph got kicked off the train in McCook, Nebraska, with a dime in his pocket. Because he was out of options, he took the first job he could find—driving for wheat harvest on a farm on the high divide along the Kansas state line. Before the ragtag crew he found himself a part of even began their first day’s work, they knew they were working for a madman—or worse. Because he felt sorry for the man’s wife and children, Ralph worked out a plan to keep himself and the other workers safe and get the harvest in. And then came the event that shocked everyone and changed his plans completely.
Several months later, Ralph owned enough teams of mustangs and wagons to haul 9,000 bushels of wheat a day. The story of how he did it is fun to read! We loved so many scenes in this book. The one about how he gave Doc a dunking is hilarious (although a sad warning about alcohol). The scene where he taught his drivers how to go through steep gullies at a dead run with four tons of wheat behind four horses is great fun, too. I also love the way Ralph had of pulling strangers together into a family, and making himself loved by them. The Dry Divide is a wonderful story. I highly recommend reading the entire series aloud to your family—I guarantee that the boys will love these stories and learn from them, and even the girls will enjoy them. I know we all think these are some of the best books we have, and one of my brothers, at least, still remembers when I read them aloud to my siblings some 25-30 years ago.
WARNING: Chapter 2: a man “cussed the tar” out of his horse. Chapter 6: read before your children do—I won’t say what happens because it would be a spoiler. Chapter 9: I’ll be doggoned, get danged near as much wheat. Chapter 14: she durned near shook every tooth loose. Chapter 17: a durned good idea
Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, 10 – 13, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 10 – 12, 12 – 15, 15 and Above, Adults