Age Appropriateness: 6-7+
Parental Involvement: Probably not required, especially with older age groups.
Caroline Book 2: Facing the Enemy
Caroline’s maturity level skyrockets in her second book. She seemed rather mature in the first book until the end when she makes some incredibly immature decisions and mistakes, but she recovers from them and continues growing throughout the second book.
The first major sacrifice Caroline has to make is when a british ship is chasing and attempting to raid the ship bringing supplies to Sacket’s Harbor – desperately needed supplies, I might add. The supply ship races up a narrow kind of wetland area to try to avoid capture, thinking the british ship can’t follow them, but the british ship is flat-bottomed, and doesn’t have a keel, so they seem to be going to attempt to follow. Well. It just so happened that Caroline and her friends were fishing at the mouth of the little sandbar area, and Caroline makes a hard decision to sink her father’s Skiff at the mouth of the canal to prevent the british from following. Her friend hacks a hole in the hull with an axe, the british seeing they can no longer pass, retreat and the city of Sacket’s Harbor gets all their supplies.
A bit later on, Caroline is filling in for her friend the mail carrier and has to walk all over the outskirts of town delivering mail. When she is done with her work for the day, she realizes she is very close to her father’s favorite fishing spot, and thinks hard about whether to go there or not, but she deeply wants to go, so she does “just for a few minutes”. When she arrives, she finds her father who is severely injured and deathly ill. She makes food and finds medicine (willow bark) to calm his fever and cares for him. She is keenly aware of how upset and worried her mother and grandmother are and wishes there were some way she could get a message back to them, but she is too far away and her father needs too much care. Late the next day, his fever decreased enough that they try to make their way home, but it is slow going with his badly almost-healed broken leg. They reach home late at night and Caroline apologizes for worrying her family, even though what she did was so important.
Soon thereafter the Battle of Sacket’s Harbor takes place, and Papa goes off to fight (yes, still wounded, but better) the men employed by the shipyard soon leave to fight as well, which left Caroline and her mom to guard the shipyard, where they are building a gun boat for the US Navy, and thus one of the most interesting targets in town. A Navy officer tells them to set fire to the shipyard if they see the navy storage sheds on fire to keep everything out of british hands. Caroline struggles with that thought, but formulates a plan of how she will do it before the event occurs to mentally prepare herself. When they see the fires light at the Navy yard, Caroline hates to do it, but she begins lighting the yard on fire. They learn that the Navy yard fires were started by accident, and they are able to douse the flames with only some damage to Abbott’s shipyard.
Caroline’s aunt and uncle moved from Canada to New York in book one, and then they resurface at the end of book two as having moved inland, but not too far away. Aunt Martha’s sister is gravely ill and Martha left the fledgling farm to care for her, left behind is Uncle Aaron and Lydia. (No mention of her older brother Oliver is ever made, presumably he has left to join the army/navy as he said he might previously) Uncle Aaron writes a letter not really asking, more like demanding, her parents send Caroline to him “right away” to help with all the farm chores because Lydia can’t handle the cooking, cleaning and tending all the animals and the vegetables by herself. They are told in his letter that the neighbors he sent the letter with will return in One Hour to collect Caroline. I can’t honestly say I’d behave as generously under the same circumstances as Caroline’s parents do, but whatever.
Caroline doesn’t want to go – even slightly – Her father just returned from a year-long captivity, summer is coming and she’s looking forward to summer on the lake and helping at the shipyard, not doing farm chores. But she doesn’t ever voice any of her disappointment, she sighs and says “I’ll start packing.” An hour later she’s being whisked off by Uncle Aaron’s neighbors they’ve never met to the inland farm. From there, things are much less tumultuous, and mostly pertain to Caroline learning about farm chores and the care of livestock and being homesick. There is a thief in the area stealing food and vegetables out of the neighboring farmer’s gardens. Much of the rest of the book is spent trying to figure out that mystery.
Eventually, Caroline finds the thief, listens to his story and learns that he’s not stealing just because he can, he is truly desperate, as is the family he is trying to care for. She helps get the entire family some food and then suggests to Uncle Aaron that they work out an arrangement for the four extra people to move in and help on the farm and earn their food instead of stealing it. With the extra hands on deck, Caroline can return home “for a few days” for July 4th, which she was most upset about missing. She and her friends and family have a wonderful day and she is grateful for her friends, family and that she is “Still an American” despite the war raging on.
Sacrifices for the war
Helping your friends and family however you can
Being Generous and Forgiving
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