My Mother's Apron
My First Grade 1932
Trixie, My Shetland Pony
Book review by Edna Boardman, Bismarck, North Dakota
Keller, Edward. My Mother's Apron, My First Grade 1932, and Trixie, My Shetland Pony.
Three children’s books in a series called Early Dakota Prairie,
packaged with a nice, professional polish about them, tell what
Edward Keller calls memory stories. Each is tightly focused.
In the first, My Mother’s Apron, readers see Keller’s
through the day, using her generous apron to facilitate the hard
required of the farm women of her generation. The apron shelters
things, children and animals, and helps transport produce from the
garden, eggs from the hen house, and fuel for the stove. The pockets
hold her handkerchief and special treats, raisins or gum, bought
the Watkins man.
The second, My First Grade 1932, brings to life the rural school
Keller attended. Children from an astonishing number of large families
are rounded up, then pass the day learning in their small classes,
singing, reciting poems, and writing on the blackboard. They eat
and sausage sandwiches from their syrup-pail lunch containers and
games in the schoolyard at recess.
In Trixie, My Shetland Pony, Keller’s father trades “a
full of wheat and a female calf” to the Ebachs for the Shetland
wants so much. He rides the pony constantly and has great fun but
does chores like rounding up cows and other horses, getting the
from the country mailbox a mile away, and riding to visit neighbors
Sunday. His sister Eleanor also learns to ride.
There are few books like this with the historical and emotional
authenticity these books have.
David Christy’s colored, computer-enhanced pencil and watercolor
illustrations are genuine works of art. This reviewer found them
delightful. In each book, he captures the authentic details and
tone of the setting in which the events of the book occurred.
The full text of each book is provided without interruption on
pages at the end, assisting parents and librarians who might wish
use it to read to individual children or during a children’s
A negative about the books has to do with flaws in the punctuation
and sometimes sentence structure. These show up more clearly in
children’s book with just a few words on a page than in text
An attractive color brochure accompanied these books. They are
choices as gifts and for general use in the prairie region.