Title: Little House Series
Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder
Major Themes: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Pioneer Life, Frontier Life, Farming, Wisconsin, Kansas, Minnesota, South Dakota, Family Read-alouds, Historical Fiction, Autobiography, US History 1865-1900
Synopsis: This is a series of books you can read over and over, and still enjoy them.
I have read the Little House books many times in my life, and I still enjoy them. I remember my father reading the series to us a couple of times, and when I was about 7 years old I can recall my excitement at having read all the way through one of these books in just one day. Since I’ve had my own family, I have read the whole series to them three times—and everyone still enjoys these timeless stories!
Little House in the Big Woods tells the story of Laura’s life in Wisconsin as a young girl. She and her sister Mary shared many fun experiences as they lived in a log cabin and helped their parents with the work that had to be done for survival.
In Little House on the Prairie, Laura’s Pa took the family west to Indian Territory, where he built another log cabin for them and started breaking ground to raise corn. The girls saw many more Indians than Ma ever wanted to even know about, and had exciting adventures.
On the Banks of Plum Creek found the family moving into a new home in Minnesota, where Pa had high hopes of making his fortune. After he built the family a new house with borrowed money, however, the grasshoppers descended on his crop and wiped them out.
By the Shores of Silver Lake describes the family’s move west to Dakota Territory, where Pa worked for a summer with the railroad. Then, the family spent a winter nearly alone beside the site of a new town, while Pa searched for the perfect spot for a homestead.
Farmer Boy describes the boyhood of Almanzo Wilder, Laura’s future husband, as he grew up in New York State. He worked hard on the farm, and ate prodigious amounts of food, which is described in great detail.
The Long Winter is a good story to read when the weather is cold. It will make you thankful for a warm house and plenty of fuel and food. The blizzards in this book are unbelievable!
Little Town on the Prairie describes the growth of the town of DeSmet, and how the Ingalls family developed their claim and turned it into a farm and a home. There is a rather funny story about mice in here!
These Happy Golden Years tells the story of Laura from 15 to 18, when she was being courted by Almanzo. It is a lovely, gentle romance, with good times and hard described.
The First Four Years is Laura’s unedited account of the beginning of her marriage. Life on a farm on the Dakota prairies was incredibly hard!
Taken all together, these books are a great picture of the American frontier as it advanced west. Laura’s family was usually at the forefront of civilization. It is a fascinating picture of a family who knew how to make do with what they had and resisted going into debt for unnecessary things.
WARNING: See the individual reviews for warnings.
Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, 12 – 15