Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


Trick or Treating Orphan

When I was little the stories that stole my heart and imagination every time I read them were orphan tales. Maybe it was because I was the middle child in my family? Or maybe it was because in orphan stories, the orphan turned into a princess or suddenly found themselves the long lost nephew or niece of a wealthy Lord or Lady. Orphans had all the luck! For Halloween, I would dress as Sara Crewe in A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Oh, how I swooned for Sara when news came that her Captain Father was lost in the war. Suddenly her high status at the girl's boarding school was lost and she moves in with the servant girl to the ancient, cold attic. Sara is not daunted by this mistreatment and even finds clever ways to play tricks on the spoiled rich girls who treat her haughtily. In fact her story-telling and imagination keeps her and her servant-girl friend warm through cold winter nights. Sara's early life in India makes her polite and friendly to the Indian servant in the building across from the school. Soon warm soups, cakes, and fruits fill the attic for the two girls, along with a monkey. I love secrets and surprises in stories and A Little Princess has them in abundance. 

But since this is Halloween when one dresses up and goes door to door asking for treats, I think I would dress up like my other favorite orphan, Oliver Twist. After reading this book I insisted my mom make me gruel for breakfast every the morning. She had no idea what gruel was, but satisfied me with a bowl of hot oatmeal. As Oliver Twist, I would carry an empty bowl from door to door, ring the doorbell and say: Please sir, may I have some more?


mark said...

Lauren, you certainly chose two quintessential orphans! Come to our place and we'll not only fill your bowl but invite you inside to warm yourself beside our woodstove!!

Lauren said...

Haha, Mark! I wish I could-- your place would be the perfect palace to enter as an orphan!

David LaRochelle said...

Orphans do make great story characters, don't they? No wonder our critique group is called "Kill the Mothers" - get rid of the parents so the kids can have adventures on their own!

Did you first come across Oliver Twist through the book or the movie, Lauren? I'm afraid the only Dickens I've ever read is A CHRISTMAS CAROL. When I think of Oliver Twist, I always picture him singing "Food, glorious food!" or "Who will buy?" You were a very sophisticated reader if you read Dickens at a young age.

Christy said...

"Never before has a boy wanted more!"
"Oliver! Oliver!"

I actually never read Oliver Twist--only saw the musical which I adored. I will have some oatmeal on hand in case you show up at the door.

Lauren, I loved both of these stories. I read my daughter A Little Princess and was delighted for a chance to to go back to a story I too had loved when I was little. There is something wonderful about the orphan having vindication--power to the powerless.

Edie Hemingway said...

Lauren, I think you're a born actress, as well as writer and illustrator! And orphans carry such power--in books, that is.