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I tell my kids on a regular basis that people are more important than things. I tell them this, because I believe it is true. Like most true...

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Little Town on the Prairie

Little Town on the Prairie is the 7th of the nine Little House books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It takes place in De Smet, South Dakota (then just called the Dakota Territory.) The book follows The Long Winter and precedes These Happy Golden Years.

If you have not read any of these books before you might wonder why Laura Ingalls Wilder refers to herself in the third person. This is because when she originally submitted her book as a first person narrative, it was rejected by the publisher. When she changed it to referring to herself in the third person, it was then accepted.

As I said in yesterday's post, I like to read these books aloud to the children because they go back to a long ago time, and while doing so, I can teach values that are timely even for our modern age.

In this book, we see the return of Nellie Olsen, Mary goes to college, and also the beginnings of the Almanzo Wilder/ Laura Ingalls relationship which develops more in the next book. I love Almanzo and even though he only shows up once every 50 or 60 pages, I am always glad when he does.

One of the best parts of this book is Laura's determination to study hard so she can become a teacher. What is most interesting to me is that Laura does not even want to be a teacher. She only wants to do it so she can provide money to her family so Mary can go to and stay in a special college for the blind. Especially touching in the book is Laura and Mary's last walk together before Mary and her parents take the train to Iowa to take Mary to her college.

The book is also very humorous and especially fun for reading out loud. From Pa's dream of getting his haircut, to the exploits of Kitty, the Ingall's cat, who is a scourge to gophers and a nemesis of local dogs, this book is every bit funny as it is poignant. I guess that's why I like these books. Modern life is sometimes stressful, funny, miserable, inspiring and heartbreaking all in the same day. It seems that life on the prairie was no different.

In researching this review, I found biographical information on Laura and her family. One thing I read said that when Laura's daughter Rose died in October 1968,and that she was the last direct descendant of Charles and Caroline Ingalls. I am not quite sure if that is true. Thanks to Laura's fine chronicles of her family, I think that the descendants of Charles and Caroline include anyone who reads and absorbs these fine Little House books.

Next Time: The Lost Art of Reading


  1. The Little House Books really are great read-alouds. I love the commentary in your last paragraph-all who love her books are like her ancestors!

  2. What I like about this series is that in each book, there is at least one skill or craft to try. No, we haven't butchered a hog, but we did fry down pork fat and render it into lard, even got cracklings out of it (couldn't find pig tails, sadly). We've made butter in a "churn", sewed a 9-square patch, baked a green pumpkin pie, and made a model what-not. Later on, I found the Little House Cookbook. http://www.amazon.com/Little-House-Cookbook-Frontier-Ingalls/dp/0064460908


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