Little House On The Prairie. Laura Ingalls Wilder.

It’s a heck of a book that kills off the loyal family dog in Chapter Two.

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I wasn’t sure that Small Girl would have the patience for Little House On The Prairie. There aren’t too many illustrations and she is only 4 ¾ (she’s claiming the ¾ and I’m clinging to it). Her reading material so far has required an abundance of princesses or fairies, ideally Fairy Princesses.

I need not have worried. We were on to a winner at the first mention of Kansas (major Wizard Of Oz phase on-going).

‘Do you like it?’ I enquired after Chapter One.
‘I love it’, she said and my heart turned over.

I got nervous again when the Ingalls’ dog, Jack, is lost as the family fords a deep creek. I considered editing as I read but poor Jack’s disappearance didn’t seem to affect Small Girl as much as it did me. Anyway, the episode is crucial to the story.

Pa did not whistle about his work as usual, and after a while he said, ‘And what we’ll do in a wild country without a good watchdog I don’t know.’

Laura Ingalls Wilder. Little House On The Prairie. Two Stout Doors.

The book hits harder than the TV series. This is in no way at all a girlie tale. This is a detailed and factual account of a huge adventure. There is no shortage of genuine peril and mortal danger.

Charles Ingalls packs his wife and children into a wagon and drives away from a life he finds over-crowded and claustrophobic. He sets out to find open space and seeks a place where he can live the life he wants to live. If only we were all so brave.

He finds his spot,

‘I tell you, Caroline, there’s everything we want here. We can live like kings’.

parks the wagon and settles in.

Much of the warmth of the book comes from Laura’s pride in the way her father provides for and protects his family.  He builds a house and a stable, he digs a well, he hunts for food, he wards off wolves and fire and in his spare time he makes a rocking-chair. Charles Ingalls is a proper hero.

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Poor Mrs Ingalls is a bit hard done by. This smiling, uncomplaining, resourceful woman goes almost unnoticed. I wish her heroic efforts had been recorded in more detail. Laura describes at great length how her father hung a door with no nails or hinges but has no interest at all in how her mother turned the house into a home on the prairie.

Indian camp. laura Ingalls Wilder. Little house On The Prairie.

Small Girl took this book to heart. I think this might be the first time she has really identified with a character in a book. Laura doesn’t always want to do what she’s told and she whines a bit and stomps her foot now and then.

The upshot is that, when Small Girl looks askance at her carrots, I only have to raise an eyebrow and say, ‘Oh my, what would Mrs Ingalls think?’ to find the plate is cleaned.

She can’t possibly have understood every word. I’m  not sure myself what is meant by a bluff or a creek-bottom and the construction of the windlass for the well left me mighty confused.

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It really didn’t matter. We huddled side-by-side, in bed, in a deck-chair, in a blanket fort, and ventured forth together into a whole new world.

 

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20 thoughts on “Little House On The Prairie. Laura Ingalls Wilder.

  1. What a great read ! A story about story that tells the tales of both..
    And told in way that makes know that Small Girl has a gem of a storyteller.. 👍
    We need a 1 million like button for posts like these !!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I grew up watching the original series on TV. I had all three of my kids read the whole series, even my two boys (men) who are 27 and 28 now. I have cried with Pa through many episodes!
    Have a great day!!! Melanie :O)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. They are all really good. I remember the hardest one to get through was The Long Winter, because it is like a very long, boring winter. They are snowed in, they don’t have much to do, everyday she describes the new snow and frost and cold. It’s still good, and maybe it’s just because I get very stir crazy in the Winter! Melanie

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  3. My daughter read the series when she was young….one of her favorite past times, to read a good book…mine too!!! what lovely memoires you are making with you little one….and I would hold onto the 43/4 to…they grow way to quick!!!

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  4. I grew up on these books long before the TV series (which has little to do with them, other than the name) and raised my children on them, too. OK. I hate to be argumentative. But I must stand up for the women (Laura and Caroline)! In terms of the whole series, I’m not sure I agree with you on the portrayal of Caroline Ingalls. While it’s clear that Laura had a soft spot for her father, she also rounded out and created a pretty interesting portrait of her mother, as an exceptionally resourceful, wise woman, who sought to create a “civilized” world for her family no matter where they landed. If you haven’t read all the books, I really recommend that you take Small Girl back to Little House in the Big Woods, in which Laura is only about 4 1/2 herself! And then work your way forward.

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    1. Oh dear, on reading over my comment, it seems terribly finger-wagging. I apologize! I’ve long loved these books and it makes me happy to see them shared with new generations. Lovely blog!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not at all Brenda! Opinions are welcome here!
        I may have allowed my own self-doubt in my homemaker role to colour my opinion. I do feel that Laura saw Mary as her mother’s natural apprentice and so, showed more interest in her Pa’s work. I was so fascinated by tiny mentions of patchwork and embroidered pillowcases…I was hungry for more. Also, can you imagine how good wild prairie hen with cornbread must have tasted? I want that recipe!
        I adored the TV series as a child but I can see now that it was a somewhat maudlin adaptation of the books.
        I realised within a couple of pages that I had made a mistake by not beginning with the first book.
        Apologies for long-windedness; I should have put all of this in the post.
        Thank you for both comments. I want, more than anything, to engage with others who love books.
        Lynda.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. You mentioned that the recipe’s in the book sounded good, and there is a Little House on the Prairie cookbook that covers a lot of the recipes in the books, O.K., now it’s out in the open, I’m a Little House nerd. I live in Idaho which is on the Oregon trail, so a lot of this was pushed on me early on in school. To us it’s history. Melanie :O)

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