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Little Town on the Prairie

Little Town on the Prairie

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Little Town on the Prairie

4/5 (26 évaluations)
304 pages
3 heures
Mar 8, 2016


Written by Scribd Editors

Laura Ingalls Wilder has been a beloved household name for years with her Little House series. In this seventh book, Little Town on the Prairie, the town has faced a long, hard winter and is ready for the spring of 1881, where they hope to emerge better and brighter.

For 15 year old Laura, this means parties, finding a job, and saving money so Mary can afford to go to a college for the blind. Between her time in the literary scene and the time she spends sewing shirts at home, Laura still manages to find the time to see a new gentleman caller: Almazo Wilder.

It's surely a strange time in Laura's life. She's getting reprimanded by the undisciplined Eliza Jane, who teaches at the one-room schoolhouse. How will she ever become a teacher if Eliza Jane is so insistent on keeping her out of the classroom?

With full-color classic illustrations by Garth Williams, this book, inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder's own childhood, comes to life and showcases life on the American frontier.

Mar 8, 2016

À propos de l'auteur

Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867–1957) was born in a log cabin in the Wisconsin woods. With her family, she pioneered throughout America’s heartland during the 1870s and 1880s, finally settling in Dakota Territory. She married Almanzo Wilder in 1885; their only daughter, Rose, was born the following year. The Wilders moved to Rocky Ridge Farm at Mansfield, Missouri, in 1894, where they established a permanent home. After years of farming, Laura wrote the first of her beloved Little House books in 1932. The nine Little House books are international classics. Her writings live on into the twenty-first century as America’s quintessential pioneer story.

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Little Town on the Prairie - Laura Ingalls Wilder


































One evening at supper, Pa asked, How would you like to work in town, Laura? Laura could not say a word. Neither could any of the others. They all sat as if they were frozen. Grace’s blue eyes stared over the rim of her tin cup, Carrie’s teeth stayed bitten into a slice of bread, and Mary’s hand held her fork stopped in the air. Ma let tea go pouring from the teapot’s spout into Pa’s brimming cup. Just in time, she quickly set down the teapot.

What did you say, Charles? she asked.

I asked Laura how she’d like to take a job in town, Pa replied.

A job? For a girl? In town? Ma said. Why, what kind of a job— Then quickly she said, No, Charles, I won’t have Laura working out in a hotel among all kinds of strangers.

Who said such a thing? Pa demanded. No girl of ours’ll do that, not while I’m alive and kicking.

Of course not, Ma apologized. You took me so by surprise. What other kind of work can there be? and Laura not old enough to teach school yet.

All in the minute before Pa began to explain, Laura thought of the town, and of the homestead claim where they were all so busy and happy now in the springtime, and she did not want anything changed. She did not want to work in town.


After the October Blizzard last fall, they had all moved to town and for a little while Laura had gone to school there. Then the storms had stopped school, and all through that long winter the blizzards had howled between the houses, shutting them off from each other so that day after day and night after night not a voice could be heard and not a light could be seen through the whirling snow.

All winter long, they had been crowded in the little kitchen, cold and hungry and working hard in the dark and the cold to twist enough hay to keep the fire going and to grind wheat in the coffee mill for the day’s bread.

All that long, long winter, the only hope had been that sometime winter must end, sometime blizzards must stop, the sun would shine warm again and they could all get away from the town and go back to the homestead claim.

Now it was springtime. The Dakota prairie lay so warm and bright under the shining sun that it did not seem possible that it had ever been swept by the winds and snows of that hard winter. How wonderful it was, to be on the claim again! Laura wanted nothing more than just being outdoors. She felt she never could get enough sunshine soaked into her bones.

In the dawns when she went to the well at the edge of the slough to fetch the morning pail of fresh water, the sun was rising in a glory of colors. Meadow larks were flying, singing, up from the dew-wet grass. Jack rabbits hopped beside the path, their bright eyes watching and their long ears twitching as they daintily nibbled their breakfast of tender grass tips.

Laura was in the shanty only long enough to set down the water and snatch the milk pail. She ran out to the slope where Ellen, the cow, was cropping the sweet young grass. Quietly Ellen stood chewing her cud while Laura milked.

Warm and sweet, the scent of new milk came up from the streams hissing into the rising foam, and it mixed with the scents of springtime. Laura’s bare feet were wet and cool in the dewy grass, the sunshine was warm on her neck, and Ellen’s flank was warmer against her cheek. On its own little picket rope, Ellen’s baby calf bawled anxiously, and Ellen answered with a soothing moo.

When Laura had stripped the last creamy drops of milk, she lugged the pail to the shanty. Ma poured some of the warm new milk into the calf’s pail. The rest she strained through a clean white cloth into tin milk pans, and Laura carefully carried them down cellar while Ma skimmed thick cream from last night’s milk. Then she poured the skimmed milk into the calf’s pail, and Laura carried it to the hungry calf.

Teaching the calf to drink was not easy, but always interesting. The wobbly-legged baby calf had been born believing that it must butt hard with its little red poll, to get milk. So when it smelled the milk in the pail, it tried to butt the pail.

Laura must keep it from spilling the milk, if she could, and she had to teach it how to drink, because it didn’t know. She dipped her fingers into the milk and let the calf’s rough tongue suck them, and gently she led its nose down to the milk in the pail. The calf suddenly snorted milk into its nose, sneezed it out with a whoosh that splashed milk out of the pail, and then with all its might it butted into the milk. It butted so hard that Laura almost lost hold of the pail. A wave of milk went over the calf’s head and a splash wet the front of Laura’s dress.

So, patiently she began again, dipping her fingers for the calf to suck, trying to keep the milk in the pail and to teach the calf to drink it. In the end, some of the milk was inside the calf.

Then Laura pulled up the picket pins. One by one, she led Ellen, the baby calf and the yearling calf to fresh places in the soft, cool grass. She drove the iron pins deep into the ground. The sun was fully up now, the whole sky was blue, and the whole earth was waves of grass flowing in the wind. And Ma was calling.

Hurry, Laura! Breakfast’s waiting!

In the shanty, Laura quickly washed her face and hands at the washbasin. She threw out the water in a sparkling curve falling on grass where the sun would swiftly dry it. She ran the comb through her hair, over her head to the dangling braid. There was never time before breakfast to undo the long braid, brush her hair properly, and plait it again. She would do that after the morning’s work was done.

Sitting in her place beside Mary, she looked across the clean, red-checked tablecloth and the glinting dishes at little sister Carrie and baby sister Grace, with their soap-shining morning faces and bright eyes. She looked at Pa and Ma so cheerful and smiling. She felt the sweet morning wind from the wide-open door and window, and she gave a little sigh.

Pa looked at her. He knew how she felt. I think, myself, it’s pretty nice, he said.

It’s a beautiful morning, Ma agreed.

Then after breakfast Pa hitched up the horses, Sam and David, and drove them out on the prairie east of the shanty, where he was breaking ground for sod corn. Ma took charge of the day’s work for the rest of them, and best of all Laura liked the days when she said, I must work in the garden.

Mary eagerly offered to do all the housework, so that Laura could help Ma. Mary was blind. Even in the days before scarlet fever had taken the sight from her clear blue eyes, she had never liked to work outdoors in the sun and wind. Now she was happy to be useful indoors. Cheerfully she said, I must work where I can see with my fingers. I couldn’t tell the difference between a pea vine and a weed at the end of a hoe, but I can wash dishes and make beds and take care of Grace.

Carrie was proud, too, because although she was small she was ten years old and could help Mary do all the housework. So Ma and Laura went out to work in the garden.

People were coming from the East now, to settle all over the prairie. They were building new claim shanties to the east and to the south, and west beyond Big Slough. Every few days a wagon went by, driven by strangers going across the neck of the slough and northward to town, and coming back. Ma said there would be time to get acquainted when the spring work was done. There is no time for visiting in the spring.

Pa had a new plow, a breaking plow. It was wonderful for breaking the prairie sod. It had a sharp-edged wheel, called a rolling coulter, that ran rolling and cutting through the sod ahead of the plowshare. The sharp steel plowshare followed it, slicing underneath the matted grass roots, and the moldboard lifted the long, straight-edged strip of sod and turned it upside down. The strip of sod was exactly twelve inches wide, and as straight as if it had been cut by hand.

They were all so happy about that new plow. Now, after a whole day’s work, Sam and David gaily lay down and rolled, and pricked their ears and looked about the prairie before they fell to cropping grass. They were not being worn down, sad and gaunt, by breaking sod that spring. And at supper, Pa was not too tired to joke.

By jingo, that plow can handle the work by itself, he said. With all these new inventions nowadays, there’s no use for a man’s muscle. One of these nights that plow’ll take a notion to keep on going, and we’ll look out in the morning and see that it’s turned over an acre or two after the team and I quit for the night.

The strips of sod lay bottom-side-up over the furrows, with all the cut-off grass roots showing speckled in the earth. The fresh furrow was delightfully cool and soft to bare feet, and often Carrie and Grace followed behind the plow, playing. Laura would have liked to, but she was going on fifteen years old now, too old to play in the fresh, clean-smelling dirt. Besides, in the afternoons Mary must go for a walk to get some sunshine.

So when the morning’s work was done, Laura took Mary walking over the prairie. Spring flowers were blossoming and cloud-shadows were trailing over the grassy slopes.

It was odd that when they were little, Mary had been the older and often bossy, but now that they were older they seemed to be the same age. They liked the long walks together in the wind and sunshine, picking violets and buttercups and eating sheep sorrel. The sheep sorrel’s lovely curled lavender blossoms, the clover-shaped leaves and thin stems had a tangy taste.

Sheep sorrel tastes like springtime, Laura said.

It really tastes a little like lemon flavoring, Laura, Mary gently corrected her. Before she ate sheep sorrel she always asked, Did you look carefully? You’re sure there isn’t a bug on it?

There never are any bugs, Laura protested. "These prairies are so clean! There never was such a clean place."

You look, just the same, said Mary. I don’t want to eat the only bug in the whole of Dakota Territory.

They laughed together. Mary was so light-hearted now that she often made such little jokes. Her face was so serene in her sunbonnet, her blue eyes were so clear and her voice so gay that she did not seem to be walking in darkness.

Mary had always been good. Sometimes she had been so good that Laura could hardly bear it. But now she seemed different. Once Laura asked her about it.

You used to try all the time to be good, Laura said. And you always were good. It made me so mad sometimes, I wanted to slap you. But now you are good without even trying.

Mary stopped still. Oh, Laura, how awful! Do you ever want to slap me now?

No, never, Laura answered honestly.

You honestly don’t? You aren’t just being gentle to me because I’m blind?

No! Really and honestly, no, Mary. I hardly think about your being blind. I—I’m just glad you’re my sister. I wish I could be like you. But I guess I never can be, Laura sighed. I don’t know how you can be so good.

I’m not really, Mary told her. I do try, but if you could see how rebellious and mean I feel sometimes, if you could see what I really am, inside, you wouldn’t want to be like me.

"I can see what you’re like inside, Laura contradicted. It shows all the time. You’re always perfectly patient and never the least bit mean."

I know why you wanted to slap me, Mary said. It was because I was showing off. I wasn’t really wanting to be good. I was showing off to myself, what a good little girl I was, and being vain and proud, and I deserved to be slapped for it.

Laura was shocked. Then suddenly she felt that she had known that, all the time. But, nevertheless, it was not true of Mary. She said, "Oh no, you’re not like that, not really. You are good."

We are all desperately wicked and inclined to evil as the sparks fly upwards, said Mary, using the Bible words. But that doesn’t matter.

What! cried Laura.

I mean I don’t believe we ought to think so much about ourselves, about whether we are bad or good, Mary explained.

But, my goodness! How can anybody be good without thinking about it? Laura demanded.

I don’t know, I guess we couldn’t, Mary admitted. I don’t know how to say what I mean very well. But—it isn’t so much thinking, as—as just knowing. Just being sure of the goodness of God.

Laura stood still, and so did Mary, because she dared not step without Laura’s arm in hers guiding her. There Mary stood in the midst of the green and flowery miles of grass rippling in the wind, under the great blue sky and white clouds sailing, and she could not see. Everyone knows that God is good. But it seemed to Laura then that Mary must be sure of it in some special way.

You are sure, aren’t you? Laura said.

Yes, I am sure of it now all the time, Mary answered. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, He leadeth me beside the still waters. I think that’s the loveliest Psalm of all. Why are we stopping here? I don’t smell the violets.

We came by the buffalo wallow, talking, said Laura. We’ll go back that way.

When they turned back, Laura could see the low swell of land sloping up from the coarse grasses of Big Slough to the little claim shanty. It looked hardly larger than a hen coop, with its half-roof slanting up and stopping. The sod stable hardly showed in the wild grasses. Beyond them Ellen and the two calves were grazing, and to the east Pa was planting corn in the newly broken sod.

He had broken all the sod he had time to, before the ground grew too dry. He had harrowed the ground he had broken last year, and sowed it to oats. Now with a sack of seed corn fastened to a shoulder harness, and the hoe in his hand, he was going slowly across the sod field.

Pa is planting the corn, Laura told Mary. Let’s go by that way. Here’s the buffalo wallow now.

I know, said Mary. They stood a moment, breathing in deeply the perfume of warm violets that came up as thick as honey. The buffalo wallow, perfectly round and set down into the prairie like a dish three or four feet deep, was solidly paved with violets. Thousands, millions, crowded so thickly that they hid their own leaves.

Mary sank down among them. Mmmmmm! she breathed. Her fingers delicately felt over the masses of petals, and down the thin stems to pick them.

When they passed by the sod field Pa breathed in a deep smell of the violets, too. Had a nice walk, girls? he smiled at them, but he did not stop working. He mellowed a spot of earth with the hoe, dug a tiny hollow in it, dropped four kernels of corn in the hollow, covered them with the hoe, pressed the spot firm with his boot, then stepped on to plant the next hill.

Carrie came hurrying to bury her nose in the violets.

She was minding Grace, and Grace would play nowhere but in the field where Pa was. Angleworms fascinated Grace. Every time Pa struck the hoe into the ground she watched for one, and chuckled to see the thin, long worm make itself fat and short, pushing itself quickly into the earth again.

Even when it’s cut in two, both halves do that, she said. Why, Pa?

They want to get into the ground, I guess, said Pa.

Why, Pa? Grace asked him.

Oh, they just want to, said Pa.

Why do they want to, Pa?

Why do you like to play in the dirt? Pa asked her.

Why, Pa? Grace said. How many corns do you drop, Pa?

Kernels, said Pa. Four kernels. One, two, three, four.

One, two, four, Grace said. Why, Pa?

That’s an easy one, said Pa.

"One for the blackbird,

One for the crow,

And that will leave

Just two to grow."

The garden was growing now. In tiny rows of different greens, the radishes, lettuce, onions, were up. The first crumpled leaves of peas were pushing upward. The young tomatoes stood on thin stems, spreading out their first lacy foliage.

I’ve been looking at the garden, it needs hoeing, Ma said, while Laura set the violets in water to perfume the supper table. And I do believe the beans will be up any day now, it’s turned so warm.

All one hot morning, the beans were popping out of the ground. Grace discovered them and came shrieking with excitement to tell Ma. All that morning she could not be coaxed away from watching them. Up from the bare earth, bean after bean was popping, its stem uncoiling like a steel spring, and up in the sunshine the halves of the split bean still clutched two pale twin-leaves. Every time a bean popped up, Grace squealed again.

Now that the corn was planted, Pa built the missing half of the claim shanty. One morning he laid the floor joists. Then he made the frame, and Laura helped him raise it and hold it straight to the plumb line while he nailed it. He put in the studding, and the frames for two windows. Then he laid the rafters, to make the other slant of the roof

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Ce que les gens pensent de Little Town on the Prairie

26 évaluations / 28 Avis
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Avis des lecteurs

  • (3/5)
    Digital audiobook performed by Cherry Jones3*** Book seven in the popular classic Little House series, has Laura growing into a young lady. She feels that the new teacher, Miss Wilder, is unfairly picking on her and her sister. Nellie Oleson seems to be thwarting Laura at every turn. Mary has left to go to a college for the blind, and Laura takes on a part time job to help pay the expenses. The town is growing and with growth come new opportunities for socializing. Laura passes her examination to be certified as a teacher, and love begins to blossom. I love this series for the way the pioneer spirit is portrayed and the strong family relationships.THIS book, however, has a scene that is very uncomfortable for modern readers. The towns folks put on a minstrel show, including performers in blackface. I know this is historically accurate to the period, but I just cringed reading about it. Cherry Jones does a fine job narrating the audiobook. I particularly like it when she sings the hymns or folk songs.
  • (4/5)
    Another wonderful book in this series!
  • (3/5)
    Not much excitement in this one. Laura works, the town grows, and Almanzo Wilder comes around a bit more. The story does give the reader a good taste of life back then, along with the racism, and that held some interest. But not enough for me to rate it higher. Maybe I'm just getting played out with the Ingalls family. Not sure. But I will begin book 8 soon with my daughter, and I do appreciate the bond we are sharing over Laura's story. And the book did end on a high note! AND, they didn't move!!!
  • (5/5)
    De Smet grows up; Laura works, learns, and meets Almanzo properly...
  • (4/5)
    I like this book, even though Laura doesn't seem her happiest here: following the development of the community is neat and novel.
  • (4/5)
    The "Little House" series offers excellent glimpses into the life of midwestern pioneers of the late 19th Century. Of course some glimpses are more interesting than others. "Little Town" talks less about pioneers eking out a living from the wilderness and more about the social life of a young teenage girl. A tad boring for my tastes--though maybe I'm just longing for a tale involving exploding spaceships. Anyway, the book IS well written, and a must read if you are reading the whole series. So check it out.--J.
  • (5/5)
    Possibly my favorite of the series. Life for the Ingalls' improves after the hardships of the Long Winter. Laura grows up, adjusts to living in town, starts looking to the future. She develops the characters of her friends a bit more, although her main focus is, as always, her family.
  • (4/5)
    Laura is growing up! She is one of the oldest girls in school and studying all she can so she can get a teaching certificate to earn money to keep her sister in college. She attends Literaries, Sociables and parties. The town is growing and more of this book takes place in society with neighbors than any other in this series. Recommended.
  • (4/5)
    Substance: After the long winter, through the summer, into the next winter. The Oleson family returns, as nasty as ever. Laura is coming on 15 when the book starts.
  • (3/5)
    Read alound to the boys in the car. Interesting but repetitive.
  • (4/5)
    I grew up reading Little House on the Prairie books and watching the weekly TV show every Sunday night. I introduced this series to my daughter and she took off with it. We had to hunt down all the books in every used book store we could find. We read this one together and I enjoyed reading it just as much this time around, many, many years later. When you read this book you feel like you know exactly what it would have been like to live in that time.
  • (4/5)
    Of all the "Little House" books, this one is the happiest to me. Laura finally gets some decent friends to hang out with (Mary Power and Minnie) and even gets a social life during these early teenage years. I always read the chapter on The Fourth of July on that holiday--it really captures the small town atmosphere of celebrating in a community.
  • (5/5)
    Laura is growing up and wants to help send Mary to college. She spends time making friends, studying and getting to know a young man named Almanzo.
  • (3/5)
    Laura is growing up, still constrained by her society. Seriously, she's supposed to sleep in her corset? Some of the cultural differences are really striking- f'rinstance, this passage where Grace, who is all of four or five years old, starts to cry when her parents are going away for a week:

    "'For shame, Grace! For shame! a big girl like you, crying' Laura choked out."

    Yes, I know, Laura and Carrie are also trying not to cry, but the shaming is so toxic from my modern viewpoint that it skews the whole scene for me.

    And then there's the 4th of July speech, cheered lustily by all the townsfolk:

    "...They had to fight the British regulars and their hired Hessians and the murdering scalping redskinned savages that those fined gold-laced aristocrats turned loose on our settlements and paid for murdering and burning and scalping women and children..."

    Again, context, context, context... but it's tough to swallow nonetheless.

    There are some lovely scenes here, though. When Almanzo scoops Laura up and delivers her to school, when the best speller wins the spelling bee, when the letter comes from Mary, when Laura gives herself a lunatic fringe- those vignettes go a long way towards redeeming the book.
  • (4/5)
    Well, finally making it through the last 2 books in the series. This was about as entertaining as the others, but I had to knock a star off for the minstrel show scene, which was problematic, to say the least (even more so than the descriptions of Indians in earlier books). I know you have to read in the context of the time and all that, but it was still painful to read, and I don't look forward to having to explain it to my eventual children when they read these books. Other than that, a good read.
  • (4/5)
    Simple, embraceable writing about life in the 1800's. Here, follow the continuing saga of Laura, Ma, Pa and the rest of the gang.. this time with Laura's first real taste of romance. This entire series is WONDERFUL, I adored it growing up, and I intend to share it with any kids I have someday down the line.
  • (4/5)
    In this book, the reader has to face the fact that Laura is really pretty grown up. She is contemplating her future as a school teacher and Almanzo Wilder is beginning to court her. Mary has passed out of the main thrust of the story since she has gone away to school. Reading about how the town entertained itself with spelling bees and school exhibitions and such was interesting. In the age of t.v. we forget how important social gatherings were.
  • (3/5)
    Again, not one of my favorites, but still good.
  • (4/5)
    At the start of Little Town on the Prairie, there seems to be a shift from the other Little House books. Where previously in the stories, Laura has been a little girl, suddenly she is taking on real work, has an interest in what her clothes and figure look like and is taking notice of the things going on in town for purely social reasons rather than what seems fun to a little girl. A lot of this story focuses around the family's intent to get Mary to a college for the blind and then about Laura's school times and the social 'whirl' of town. The stories are sweet and quaint in a way that is classic and comforting. The things that were important to girls then is so different than now, and the stories told in this book highlight that while still making it interesting for the reader who may not understand the conventions of the time.
  • (5/5)
    Life becomes a bit better for the Ingalls and Laura.
  • (4/5)
    This book sees Mary and Laura in particular growing up and orienting themselves to the realities of young adult life. However, Laura retains the same storytelling style as in the previous books with language geared at younger children, which I found surprising at first but overwhelmingly sensible; as an author, she displays skill in framing her life as a story for a particular audience rather than as a pure autobiography. Laura continues to struggle with her desires to be young and have fun though more maturity is demanded of her, and shows insights into her growing wisdom by reflecting more strongly in this book on theological truths of her human nature and what it means to be truly good. She is not trying to impress anybody with her story, but simply to recount for young readers what her life as a teenager was like, and the blend of adult worries, childish hurts, and naive stumbling towards romance evident in this period of her life provide a refreshing alternative to angst-ridden modern-day young adult literature.
  • (4/5)
    This is one of my favourite LIW books. I'm fascinated by the descriptions of life in town. Two things that struck me in particular were a) how modestly they lived and b) how quickly they had to grow up. Just think of Laura, going off to teach at age 15. I was no where near mature enough for that at that age. And they all seemed so selfless too - always passing on things to each other, because they didn't need them themselves, and thought the other person would like them more.
  • (5/5)
    See review for Little House #1... and add my personal opinion that sometimes Wilder gets waaaaaay too detailed about the clothing. I guess she was like many today who are really into clothes, but those were extraneous details to me.
  • (3/5)
    Having read nearly all of Laura Ingalls Wilder's books about her life growing up in the West, I found this one a little disappointing. Most of the books I really enjoyed but this particular volume wasn't as interesting to me as the rest. Perhaps it's because there is less about Laura's family, with Mary off to college, and more about her interaction with other townsfolk. This doesn't make it a bad book -- on the contrary, I'm glad I read it -- it just makes it one of my least favorites of the series thus far.
  • (1/5)
    "Little Town on the Prairie" covers the life of the famous Laura Ingalls Wilder as she gets her teaching certificate and begins dating Almanzo Wilder. A well known classic, this book is much beloved by many out there; but it shouldn't be. While the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder can be entralling for young girls, the use of pa in Blackface in this book is completely unacceptable. Children today should not be exposed to such material unless heavily under the guide of an adult who can coax them through the controversies inherent in the text. This book has a place in an academic library as it is a very important part of American literary history, but it doesn't have a place in the children's sections of libraries. Librarians should consider moving this book to the top shelf, so that students can't find this tome accidentally. If possible, it could be desirable to weed this tome altogether, but considering how many adults love the series that might be impossible. A display or seminar on the problems with the series could be a good way to make this series a teaching moment for today's children, but there many be some resistance from parents with fond memories.
  • (3/5)
    At this point in the "Little House" series Ma, Pa and the four daughters, Mary, Laura, Carrie and Grace, have moved to town so that Pa can finish the homestead. This is their second year in De Smet and the little homestead is growing. Pa's farming abilities are increasing with the addition of chickens, corn, and a bigger garden. The town is growing as well. A church has been built and the community is getting together for Friday Literary nights at the school where games like spelling bees, charades and debates are held. At this time Mary is sent away to a college for the blind and Laura is nearly sixteen years old. She is on her way to becoming a school teacher. Her focus is on studying hard so that she will be ready for the career when she turns sixteen. Another step towards adulthood is the growing, albeit confused, attraction to Almanzo Wilder. His courtship is odd to her because she thinks of him as "old" and more of a friend of her father's than hers.
  • (5/5)
    The Ingalls family packs up their covered wagon and sets off for the big skies of the Kansas Territory, where wide open land stretches as far as the eye can see. Just when they begin to feel settled, they are caught in the middle of a dangerous conflict.
  • (5/5)
    I don’t think I’m the sentimental type, so I was surprised to find the Laura Ingalls-Wilder miniseries, which aired on daytime television during one winter school holidays, quite moving.As a kid I read the first in the series, ‘Little House on the Prairie’ and if I hadn’t read so much Enid Blyton I might be a more rounded adult reader, and I might have even read the rest in the series. But I didn’t. I do remember the image of the rag-doll made for one of the girls at Christmas time and compared what the girls had to my own over-privileged idea of Christmas festivities. I’m sure it affected me; I was always very careful of my toys. I also grew up reading a whole heap of Mormon books which I asked for at a Church fair. I didn’t even know they were religious in nature until I overheard Mum joking about my religious bent to one of her friends. I must have been about nine. I stopped reading them after that, but I think I might have been sullied, because I seem to have traditional Christian values despite the fact I’m an atheist.I’m sure the Little House series would have a similar effect on young readers. Apart from the underlying Christian tones, the books are full of action and full of the sorts of house-keeping detail that fascinates little girls. I used to play house, constructing floor plans around the base of oak trees with ‘walls’ of fallen dried leaves. The idea of setting up a house from scratch on the Prairie of the frontier is satisfying. As a kid I didn’t understand the bits about the Indians and the wild west and all that. I’m sure American kids would have no such trouble, but to a kid growing up in New Zealand, a bit of explanation from an adult may be required. That’s possibly what led to me not reading on. If I’d understood a bit of the American history – which is not on the NZ curriculum – it might have helped.I’ll certainly give these books to my own daughter to read, along with a good discussion on history and settlement and native people and making the most of what you’ve got.