Title: Changes for Caroline
Author: Kathleen Ernst
Illustrators: Robert and Lisa Papp
ISBN: 9781593698928
Pages: 84 pages
Publisher/Date: American Girl Publishing, c2012
Publication Date: September 4, 2012

The success of our new farm depends on making a good start this summer. We must have a good harvest if we are to have any hope of surviving next winter. Therefore, I ask that you send Caroline to us right away. We will likely need her for some time to come.
Caroline gasped. She was to go to the farm? Right away? Without knowing when she might return? A band seemed to go tight around her chest. (10)

Things seem to finally getting back to normal, or as normal as they can get with a war threatening to disturb their lives at any moment. Then Caroline and her family receive word that her Uncle Aaron and cousin Lydia desperately need help starting their new farm… and they want Caroline to come and help! Within an hour, Caroline is packed and leaving her family behind to take the ride into the country. Farming is not easy, as they must plow the fields, tend the meager crops, milk the cows, and an assortment of other chores that take them from sun up to sun down. Life is made even more difficult when a thief starts running off with their hard-earned food. When Caroline is left on the farm by herself for the day and she hears noises, she must act quickly to save the food and supplies.

This is my favorite book of the Caroline series, probably because I’m willing to overlook the abrupt ending. It shows every day farm life during this time period. Yes, the war is still going on, but Uncle Aaron and his family are more concerned with getting crops in the ground, milk out of the cows, and food on their table then who is fighting who. Ernst includes little details about farm life, like if cows eat onions their milk tastes and smells funny for a couple of days. We see just how much hard work there is in keeping a farm in running order, and readers witness the camaraderie between farmers as they help each other with their chores. It reminded me of the Little House series, only much shorter and less descriptive. Although the war is still being fought at the end of this book, Caroline’s story ends peacefully and jubilantly as the whole country celebrates Independence Day in ways very similar to what we do today, with speeches, picnics, gun salutes, and music.

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