Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (A Dell Yearling classic)

by Kate Douglas Wiggin

Paperback, 1986

Status

Available

Call number

PB Wig

Call number

PB Wig

Local notes

PB Wig

Barcode

1777

Publication

Yearling (1986), 256 pages

Description

Talkative, ten-year-old Rebecca goes to live with her spinster aunts, one harsh and demanding, the other soft and sentimental, with whom she spends seven difficult but rewarding years growing up.

Language

Original language

English

Original publication date

1903

Physical description

256 p.; 5 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member BookConcierge
Rebecca Randall is the young girl at the center of this classic coming-of-age novel. Living on the idyllic Sunnybrook Farm with her six siblings and her widowed mother, she is sent at age nine to live with her two elderly aunts in Riverboro, Maine. In exchange for her help they will provide room
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and board, a suitable wardrobe and ensure she receives an education. Her mother hopes it will be “the making of Rebecca.” The novel follows Rebecca through young adulthood.

What a delight this classic is! Of course, I had seen the Shirley Temple movie several times when I was a child, but never read the book. While the novel is very different from Temple’s movie, Rebecca’s irrepressible character is the same. First published in 1903, it is set primarily in the late 19th century.

From the first introduction, as she boards the stagecoach as the lone passenger, Rebecca charms and entertains. She is ever curious, constantly moving, always exploring, and chattering away. She makes friends easily, whether it be with the elderly coach driver, or the girls and boys in her school. She makes mistakes and gets into mischief (what child doesn’t!), but she wins over even her irascible oldest aunt, Miranda.

I wish Wiggins had written a sequel; I sure would read more about Rebecca as a young woman. She’s every bit as engaging and interesting as Anne Shirley (of Green Gables) who was brought to life by L.M. Montgomery some five years after Rebecca Randall debuted.
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LibraryThing member AnnieHidalgo
I feel like I should be somehow ashamed now, in the age of modernity, to have loved 'girlhood classics' like this. But instead, it makes me sad, for our society. I'm never giving up my computer, but if only I could grow up and find myself in the world of Sunnybrook Farm/Louisa May Alcott/Betsy
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Tacy. They seemed to know how to live well, back then, and how to appreciate what they had, and the people who were close to them.
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LibraryThing member taylorenee
This was one of my childhood favorites. I read it three times.Great book to read to young children.
LibraryThing member PollyMoore3
I wish I had read this delightful story when I was ten, instead of multiples of that number. Very much like Pollyanna and Anne of Green Gables, but with its own distinctive flavour.
LibraryThing member DeltaQueen50
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin had long been on my radar as I have heard it spoken of in loving terms by my Mother many, many times. Unfortunately, I probably waited too long to read this book as I found it did not really stand the test of time. Rebecca is neither as interesting
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nor as loveable as L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables or Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.

Written early in the 20th century Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm is a moralistic tale of a young girl sent to live with her two straight-laced maiden aunts and the life lessons that she learns as she grows to maturity and independence. The aunts have definite ideas of a child’s place, but Rebecca seems to have the ability to gain the love and affection of most people that she meets. From teachers to slightly strange (almost icky) benefactors, she glides through life charming all she meets.

I am glad that I can finally say that I have read this book, and I will definitely tell my Mother that I enjoyed it, but, seriously I would tell most people who are looking for a story of this type to go for the above mentioned Anne of Green Gables or Little Women.
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LibraryThing member Kaihills
The theme of this book is family and putting others first. Rebecca has high hopes to continue her studies and work as a schoolteacher after finishing school, but she instead shows gratitude to her aunts by taking care of them in their old age. She is rewarded for her selflessness with the inherited
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gift of her aunt's large home. Instead of using the home for her own purposes, she also invites her large yet very poor family to come and live with her. Although this book dealt with some very real and serious issues, such as poverty, illness, and death, it also included many humorous anecdotes that highlighted Rebecca's cleverness and spunk. For example, Rebecca was mortified when she leaned against a freshly painted bridge railing while daydreaming. Another time, Rebecca charms a young man into buying dozens of boxes of soap with a well-rehearsed and humorous sales pitch. A few passages in the book would no longer be considered politically correct, such as the description of a missionary's quest to bring the Gospel to "savages," however the major themes in the book are still very valid and pertinent today.
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LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
Rebecca Rowena Randall - named for the two heroines of Sir Walter Scott's novel of adventure and romance, Ivanhoe - sets out on an adventure of her own in this classic American children's story, first published in 1903, leaving her home at Sunnybrook Farm to live with her two maiden aunts in
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Riverboro, Maine, there to receive the benefits of an education, and the 'proper' upbringing that her much-beleaguered mother cannot provide to her. With an eye for beauty, a vivid imagination, and a talkative disposition, ten-year-old Rebecca is soon winning friends both young and old, from stage-driver and neighbor, Mr. Jeremiah Cobb, to schoolmate and soon-to-be close friend, Emma Jane Perkins. Her aunts - sternly critical Miss Miranda Sawyer, and kindhearted Miss Jane Sawyer - give her a home in the "brick house," and, in their very different ways, eventually come to love this most unexpected niece...

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm is one of those children's classics (whose number is embarrassingly large) that I am always meaning to get to, but for which I can never seem to find the time. I'm very glad that it was chosen as our March selection, over in The Children's Fiction Book Club to which I belong, as this gave me the opportunity (and the needed push in motivation, apparently) to finally pick it up. It has added interest for me, as a long-time fan of Anne of Green Gables, as Wiggin's book was apparently a great influence of the later (1908) Canadian classic.

Overall, I found it an engaging and enjoyable read, one that fits snugly into the world of late Victorian girls' stories. There are undeniable parallels with Montgomery's better-known work - both books feature 'orphans' (although not technically an orphan, Rebecca is separated from her family) who go to live with two elderly people, one stern, the other kindhearted; the heroines of both are imaginative, talkative, and just a little bit set apart from those around them; and both stories document the changes brought to their eponymous heroines' adoptive homes - although Wiggin's has a distinctly New England flavor, that is missing from Montgomery's Prince Edward Island-centered tale. In particular, the depiction of the unbending Aunt Miranda, who never voices her change of heart to her niece, choosing to communicate her love posthumously, through her will, felt very authentic to me, even if another outcome might have made for happier reading. I rather wish that I had read this as a girl, as I suspect my appreciation for it would have been greater. As it is, I enjoyed it, but cannot say I loved it.

Addendum: I had the good fortune to read a vintage copy of this title, with artwork by Helen Mason Grose, which I greatly enjoyed. The color plates were lovely, but so too were the black-and-white engraving-style illustrations. I highly recommend the reader find a well illustrated copy, as it enhances the experience greatly! I loved the cover image on my copy, with Rebecca, in her buff dress, carrying her precious pink parasol, descending from the stagecoach in Riverboro.
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LibraryThing member mariekagreene
A classic comming-of-age tale, not unlike Anne of Green Gables, but with a special focus on education and the innately intelligent. As a teacher, I found many moments particularly poignant - especially thinking of the "TAG" type of student I've encountered. Though this was written for children, the
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language might be too complex for most children who would find the story of interest these days. Beautifully written, however.
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LibraryThing member AprilBrown
A relaxing story about a girl growing up, and her aunts coming to respect her, as well as her family who hadn’t understood her gifts as a child. A good afternoons read. It feels as if the story stopped to soon, though some foreshadowing gives some ideas as to what the author wanted the reader to
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believe would happen next.
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LibraryThing member jillrhudy
It's hard to be impartial about a book that helped define you. I read this at a very young age and decided I was like the main character. This was a good decision.
LibraryThing member tjsjohanna
This story reminded me of others that are similar - Pollyanna, Anne of Green Gables, Emily of New Moon - all books about young girls, thrust upon adults who aren't sure they want to care for them. Rebecca is interesting because she isn't particularly smart or cute or good - but she is alive and she
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is attractive in some indefinable way to those around her. I enjoyed hearing Rebecca's adventures and enjoyed they way the story ended.
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LibraryThing member lucybrown
Alongside Caddie Woodlawn and Little Britches, this was one of my favorite novels as a child. As an American child growing up in Italy, I had a penchant for stories telling of the very American style, usually rural, childhood. Rebecca was funny and poignant.
LibraryThing member lucybrown
Alongside Caddie Woodlawn and Little Britches, this was one of my favorite novels as a child. As an American child growing up in Italy, I had a penchant for stories telling of the very American style, usually rural, childhood. Rebecca was funny and poignant.
LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
I think that I may have read this before. But I'm not sure. It's that forgettable. Now, it's possible I read an abridged version, but I doubt it, as I trust Project Gutenberg to so mark. And besides, there was plenty of the kind of stuff that often gets cut. So, I don't think anything was missing
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that would make it a more valuable book.

Rebecca was not drawn in a way that would make people who aren't just like her be able to empathize with her. I did sympathize, but I actually empathized slightly more with the aunts. If either had been drawn more complexly, I would have enjoyed it more - but the 'good cop bad cop' game they played was, imo, just plain wrong.

Mr. Ladd had a bit of a struggle to restrain romantic feelings for R, but he was always more fond of her as a 'niece' and 'protege' type figure, so their whole interaction was really nbd. Emma Jane knew she was nobody without R, so why did we have to spend so much time with her?

Nothing was rich, or heartfelt, or even worth exploring, imo. The only person who actually really grew was Aunt Jane, and that was only in the beginning when she learned to speak up to Aunt Miranda, if sufficiently provoked.

And don't get me started on the moralizing.
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LibraryThing member t1bclasslibrary
Rebecca is taken in by her aunts who despair to raise this very bright but wild child. Everyone is wooed by Rebecca's spirit, excitement, and vigor. She takes up projects with excitement and abandon that affects all those around her, especially her best friend Emma Jane. Though Rebecca finds
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herself a lady by the end (who has outgrown the farm that she once loved), she never loses the charisma or spirit that make her enchanting to the reader as she is to all those around her.
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LibraryThing member TerriS
This is just an adorable book about a sweet, outgoing, intelligent girl with a wonderful optimistic view of life and how she touches the lives of those she comes in contact with. Yes, it's very similar to Anne of Green Gables, Pollyanna, and Heidi. But if you love those girls, you'll also love
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Rebecca!
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LibraryThing member fingerpost
I was disappointed with this uneven book. At times, interesting and funny. At other times, so dull I could hardly keep focused on what I was reading. The first two thirds of the book are about Rebecca as a child, going away from the farm she was reared on to live with two elderly spinster aunts.
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This portion of the book is better. Alas, the final third, during which Rebecca ages five years or so, growing from childhood into adulthood, was all remarkably tedious, and the humor was gone completely.
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LibraryThing member lucybrown
Alongside Caddie Woodlawn and Little Britches, this was one of my favorite novels as a child. As an American child growing up in Italy, I had a penchant for stories telling of the very American style, usually rural, childhood. Rebecca was funny and poignant.
LibraryThing member witchyrichy
I don't think I ever read Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm as a young person. I was an Anne of Green Gables fan and somehow equated Wiggin's book with Pippy Longstocking, a book I sure I probably wouldn't like. I picked up Rebecca as a children's class for the American Author Challenge and am glad it
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did. It was a lovely read for a coldish winter weekend, and I spent Sunday by the woodstove lost in the world of rural Maine. Rebecca is much like Anne: full of the joy of life that often annoys those for whom life seems like one big chore. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was reminded why I pursue the LT challenges. I end up reading books I haven't and finding out I enjoyed them!
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Pages

256

Rating

½ (356 ratings; 3.6)
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