Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The area around the Ingalls’ little house in the big woods is getting crowded, and Pa decides to hop in the wagon and head off to “Indian country” in Kansas. The family finds a nice place to settle and spends months building a home there. But just as things are beginning to settle down to a normal life, they begin to have troubles with the natives in the area, who are angry about all the settlers moving into their territory. 

This plot was a lot less passive than the story from Little House in the Big Woods, and as a result I enjoyed it a good deal more. This is my first time reading the series and it’s exciting to experience the story that so many people rave about. Maybe I’ll even check out the TV series, though I hear it’s nothing like the books. 

One thing I had trouble with in this story was the handling of the Native Americans and their culture. Obviously, this book was written in a time when there was a lot of tension between Natives and white settlers, and the language and attitude expressed in Little House was acceptable. However, this may be one of those books that I would discuss with a young child if they were reading it. I don’t believe in telling a child not to read a book, but I do believe in discussing certain points of books with children if it’s possible for them to misunderstand the context. This is definitely one of those books. 

In the long run, though, I’m really enjoying this series and am eager to move on to the next book. 

Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Little House in the Big Woods
by Laura Ingalls Wilder
This is the first story of Larua as a 4-year old in a log cabin in the woods of Wisconsin. I’ve never read any of these books before, and honestly I can’t even say whether I ever watched the TV show. So I didn’t know quite what to expect. Whatever I expected, this wasn’t it. This book is written with a slice-of-life narrative with no plot and very little dialog – it was kind of a passive story…or perhaps a string of memories/anecdotes that are connected in approximate chronological order. 

Not that I’m saying I disliked it. It was really cute and a really quick read. I’m definitely going to continue with the rest of them. I’m also not entirely sure why this is considered a Christmas book. Yes, Christmas was included in the time-line, but it was about an entire year living in the little log cabin in the woods. I think the cutest part of the book was when Laura and her mother went out to milk the cow at night and mistook a bear for the cow. 🙂 Laura’s corn-cob doll was also pretty adorable. 

I think it’s interesting how many people care about whether this story was truly factual. I mean, of course it’s not fully factual – apparently Laura was younger when she lived on the Prairie than when she lived in the woods in Wisconsin, but she switched the timeline around. I’m sure some of the memories she mentions are also not fully factual, but that’s how family anecdotes are – they change with time and audience. This isn’t an autobiography, this is a string of anecdotes for children.