Friday, July 23, 2010

Alice Caldwell Hegan

Front cover for a children's novel published in 1901.

Here is a marvelous sample of what children's novels
used to be like way back at the turn of the 20th century.
This book, written by Alice Caldwell Hegan, deals with
the financial struggles of a family who lives on a
cabbage patch. The father tries to make ends meet by
cultivating a meager piece of land while his wife finds
many a disappointment in looking for a job. They have
three little girls named Asia, Australia, and Europena.
These three girls do not spend their days sexting, or
downloading songs for their Ipod, or buying tickets
online to go to Disneyland. No. Not at all. They
participate vividly in the family's struggle for
survival. The situation is so difficult at one point
that one of the characters is suffering from a cold for
a week. Mother tries to look for something to keep
him warm. She goes through many drawers before
she's able to find a comforter for him.
Such are the passages we find in this work along
with other similar lines like "two of the holes in
his pants were patched and two were not."
No specific location is given for the setting of the
cabbage patch, but the story seems to have a
southern flavor.

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