I found a rare, out-of-print book in my treasure trove that’s perfect to round out our Appalachian reading experience – Down Down The Mountain by Ellis Credle. I won it a long time ago in an ebay auction and have actually forgotten about it!
Down Down The Mountain is set in a part of the Appalachians and features Hank and Hetty who have never owned a pair of shoes in their life. They follow their grandmother’s advice to plant some turnips and to sell those in town so they can buy their very own “squeaky, creaky, shoes.”
Their adventures planting their turnips, going down, down the mountain, and roaming around town provide a wealth of learning ideas about life in the mountains, hard work, kindness, seeds, and grocery selling. Here are some of the things we did:
We love planting, and we took the opportunity to plant some seeds like Hank and Hetty. Using Leafy Wonders, a boxed set of planters, seeds, and booklet, we talked about the basic parts of seeds as well as how to care for plants. One of our pots has already sprouted some baby leaves!
Old-Fashioned Home Life
Similar to what we learned last week about home life in rural areas, we noticed that Hank and Hetty’s Mammy washes clothes in a stream. The similarity in the ideas presented in two or more books reinforces learning ideas, so I really choose similarly-themed books to read for two- to three-week periods.
The artist used only two colors for the illustrations: black and blue. We compared this with Lentil by Robert McCloskey which only has charcoal pencil lines.
Hank and Hetty go to the town store to look at different kinds of shoes. We set up our own store and took turns being the store owner and the shopper. We set our wares on the table and prepared real coins for some simple addition and subtraction. This is always a favorite activity that we can do day after day after day – and night!
Hank and Hetty have never owned a pair of shoes. I drew Little T’s attention to this and asked her to count her own shoes. We then talked about contentment and thankfulness for our x number of shoes and blessings in life!