Review is also on Rabbit Ears Book Blog This is a classic, I even memorized it for some performance contest in elementary school It s THAT good.
A classic So funny, so cute And, I m sorry, but the way the wife is drawn as having a huge squashy bust right atop her apron is hilarious to me.
This is a very silly, very funny story and we had a lot of fun reading it aloud together The absurdity and improbability of the events occuring at the ranch juxtaposed with the banality of the events occuring in town makes this a really entertaining tale And the illustrations are so sterotypical, they remind me of the cartoon,Courage the Cowardly Dog
Meanwhile Back at the Ranch is the next addition to my all time favorite little kid s book list It is a Reading Rainbow Book and absolutely delightful read I have read it many times since it came out in 1987 and it s just as charming in the current century It was a favorite of one of my students and when she graduated from high school I gave her a copy to share with her future students She was thrilled Now she s a mom herself In the tiny town of Sleepy Gulch, Farmer Hicks and his wife Elna have some extraordinary experiences all in the same day Farmer Hicks drives 84 miles from his farm into tired ol Sleep Gulch to see what s happenin Elna on the other hand, decides to stay on the ranch and dig potatoes My my my Elna is in for a surprise or two or three and Farmer Hicks comes back with his own exciting news from Sleepy Gulch I know there are a couple different illustrators for this book, my favorite is the original done by Tony Ross The pictures are brilliant Fun story Also a 5 star winner from this retired elementary school librarian and grandma of nine When Rancher Hicks Drives Miles To Sleepy Gulch For Excitement, His Wife Elna Misses The Year Old Wanted Posters In The Post Office, A Never Ending Checker Game, And Hot Spot Millie S Luncheonette Meanwhile Back at the Ranch, All That Happens Is Elna Strikes Oil, Inherits A Fortune, And Is Visited By The President Never Has The West Been Wilder Or Funnier A Reading Rainbow Feature Selection Full Color Illustrations Donated to the library by Soroptimists International of Willits in December, 1989.
I really wanted to like this book, but I found it was just too unbelievable The pictures are original, but could not really make up for the plot An old couple lives on a ranch far from everywhere where nothing much ever happens Rancher Hicks decides to see what s happening in Sleepy Gulch, eighty four miles away and invites his wife Elna to come along, but she begs off saying she has to dig potatoes The plot consists of contrasting the dullness of Sleepy Gulch with all the things that start happening to Elna as soon as Hicks leaves Besides all her animals having babies, she wins all kinds of prizes, strikes oil while digging potatoes, becomes a movie star, inherits her aunt s estate, and builds several wings unto the house Meanwhile, after watching a rousing game of checkers, getting a haircut, and witnessing the most exciting thing ever a turtle crossing the road, Hicks is sorry that Elna missed all the fun So he buys her a box of Cracker Jacks before he leaves, thinking it will make her day When he gets home and gives Elna her present and tells her about his adventures in town, Elna says, Shoot I miss everything And then Rancher Hicks looks around at the home additions, oil wells, and other modifications to his ranch and has nothing to say but What the hay And Elna opens her box of Cracker Jacks and finds a real diamond ring.
That s it It illustrates irony, I suppose, and continually uses the Meanwhile Back at the Ranch and Meanwhile back in Sleepy Gulch lines to contrast the dullness where all the excitement is supposed to be with all the excitement where the dullness is supposed to be I expected a bit , so the book was a let down for me I m still trying to figure out why it was selected as a Reading Rainbow book and is still in print when some of my favorite books with much merit than this one are out of print.
This felt like a classic example of a wasted premise I read the synopsis of the book in my library s catalog and thought, That sounds cute, using the phrase meanwhile, back at the ranch as the foundation of a silly story about the perils of looking for excitement in the big city But there was no subtlety to it at all the author even included phrases like ho hum and yawn when describing what was going on in Sleepy Gulch, as if she somehow didn t feel like describing boring stuff was enough to let her young audience know it was boring Or maybe she thought adults reading the book aloud to kids would need a full script to get the point across Then there was the template for Elna s good fortune, which went, Farm animal has babies, Elna gets money, Elna uses the money to build something for the farm animals All I could think was, Does Elna belong to an odd cult where she s precluded from spending any money on herself, or even saving it And apparently all that needed to happen for excitement to begin at the ranch was for Rancher Hicks to leave it, so I m not quite sure what lesson that gets across.