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Good morning! It's time to check the polls! Who else is witness to the psychological torture of a small child, and what are they making of it? Let's start with Vision Forums... I hear them mentioned a lot about evangelical homeschooling references, so they must be like A Beka, pretty big... ooh, they tell you who should be reading Elsie Dinsmore!

recommended for grades 7 to 9 ages 12 to 15

I have trouble imagining a 15-year-old staying interested in book 1, but when Bromly Egerton rolls around in later books things do get briefly interesting and then boring and then interesting and then boring and so on, so ok.

list price $15.00

The words of Jesus, "Suffer the little children to come unto me ... for of such is the kingdom of God" ought to be a living reality in young children. This 19th century story demonstrates just such a reality through the life of a little girl who loves the Savior and tries to obey his commands through persecution, temptation, and disappointment. Set in the coastal South of the 1840s, this Christian classic provides clear testimony to the Grace of God in the life of a child. By Martha Finley. Hardback. 316 pgs.

"Coastal South." Hm. That's a pretty big hint, although it doesn't mention the whole racism thing or the "God could even bring himself to love a black person!" thing or the constant presence of slavery. So far, we're sort of edging around the Elsie Dinsmore books. We're not talking about what people see in them.

The big deal with this is probably that fifteen dollars. It's out of print, there's no copyright, so that's actually a pretty sweet deal. For the person selling it, not the buyer. Nothing is worth buying this thing.

Lisa K. throws in some Elsie-related input, from Christian Homeschoolers Taking A Stand:

Recognizing the avid interest in fictional writings among youth today, we have elected to republish the circa 1860 Elsie Dinsmore Series, by Martha Finley, because of the strong moral and Godly nature of the “Elsie” character. It is our opinion that the Finley books are in a class far about the majority of fictional literature presently available for young impressionable minds since the Word of God,

WOAH. This is heady stuff. Guys, Elsie Dinsmore is, according to Christian Homeschoolers Taking A Stand, second only to the Bible.

...including His salvation message and Biblical principles, permeates the pages of the heroine’s daily experience. We can assume you that “Elsie’s” character has a way of capturing your heart, and challenging your life to live Godly in Christ Jesus.

Ignoring the couple of syntaxt smashes in there, the message is clear: Elsie Dinsmore will blow your mind and destroy your wishy-washy weak-willed spiritual waffling! Bow before Elsie Dinsmore! Ve haff vays of challenging your life.

Heppner's Legacy:

Hundreds of home schoolers and Christian families have benefited from the blessings these books have been in their lives. Elsie raises the standard of godly womanhood to new heights. Feminists will not be happy with Elsie. She is a God-honoring young woman who strives to solve problems while working through biblical authority structures.

Heppner's Legacy has told us the most so far: they like the feminine submission to authority. That's actually on our list of things to tackle, mostly because it's going to be completely impossible not to notice and is eventually going to raise some very uncomfortable questions.


Introduce yourself to Elsie Dinsmore in a whole new way! This classic presentation of the first book in the Elsie series is narrated by homeschool father, bibliophile and historian Bill Potter. Elsie has provided a role model for countless young girls who aspire to be keepers at home and women who evidence God's grace; enjoy this new medium for experiencing Martha Finley's stories.

Because you don't need to be reading my Gutenburg copypaste, redtext, and capslock! You can pay someone else twenty bucks to read it to your kids! Hey, that scene where Elsie's dad is about to beat her with a riding crop was dropped from later versions, according to the wiki. Think it's back in? Or was Finley censored?


Although my girls say Elsie is “too perfect,” exposure to such an ideal is character-building. We are, after all, to “Be imitators of God,” and look to Jesus as our example. Although we can never attain that ideal, it gives us a goal to work toward. Similarly, the character of Elsie supplies a standard of behavior for girls and young ladies intended to inspire and help build character in them.

...sort of. I've already touched on the evangelical aspect of Christ-likeness and how Elsie promptly takes that concept and tries to make it across the solar system, so I won't point out her text is contradicting her stance. And I'm still quietly building my case about the rules of morality in the Elsie Dinsmore-verse, so we'll just have to discuss that when the letters are writ larger in the text.

Because we do see where Elsie's moral development leads her, and not one of these reviews has so much as hinted at it.
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January 2012

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