Buy It, Borrow It or Bag It: The Brownie Scouts in the Cherry Festival by Mildred A. Wirt

Brownie scouts     I love old books and when I found this one in Half Price Books, I knew I had to have it. To begin with, it was written by the original author of the Nancy Drew Mysteries Mildred A. Wirt and secondly, I knew it would be a hoot to read a book geared for children of a different time.

The book was copyrighted 1949 and concerns a group of Brownie Scouts who are making a crazy quilt to be auctioned off during their quilt show. They are also in the process of finding quilt donations for said show, but when the discover they are lacking money in the troop budget, they decide to work on a farm picking cherries for $.02 a pound. They meet orchard owners who are less than charitable to the Mexican immigrant workers who are also picking cherries and when the Brownies suspect one of them of stealing their precious crazy quilt, they nearly turn on “Jose” as well.

This is a book about the Brownies however, so you know all’s well by the end. Turns out Jose found the quilt blown up against a fence and took the covering home to his baby sister. He gladly gives the quilt back and the brownies invite him and all of the Mexican workers to their cherry festival where the quilt is auctioned off and donated back to the troop.

It’s obvious in the reading that this book is to be read by members of the Brownie organization because it is laden with the Girl Scout philosophies, rules and regulations. However, it is also interesting to see how different the times were. Although the Brownies are not allowed to go looking for quilts without a partner, yet when a farmer’s wife offers them a ride to the bus stop, it’s perfectly OK to accept it. Ha ha.

While this book isn’t the kind of title one can easily buy or borrow from the library, I encourage readers not to bag it either. Yes, it is dated, but it is fun to thumb through books like this to see differences and similarities in the way that we live today. Life lessons may be the same, but the ways in which we learn them are often very different.



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