Title: On the Banks of Plum Creek
Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder
Series: Little House, book 3
Major Themes: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Minnesota, Pioneers
Synopsis: When Laura’s family settles down in Minnesota, they expect to make their fortune farming—and then disaster strikes.
We’re all enjoying reading through the Little House books again. I love Laura’s writing style, and how she made her girlhood come to life in these stories. On the Banks of Plum Creek describes the family’s attempt to settle down and make a living farming in Minnesota.
After being forced to leave their log cabin in Indian Territory, Pa and Ma and Mary and Laura and Baby Carrie and Jack, the bulldog, have made their way to Minnesota, where Pa learned about a man who wanted to sell his farm and go farther west. He struck a deal with the man, and the next day the family moved in—to a dugout underground on the banks of Plum Creek. And so began three years of excitement, promise, and heartache. Pa was always optimistic that this year they would have a bumper crop of wheat, which would make their fortune, and then they would be able to have everything they wanted—but he didn’t count on grasshoppers. How would they survive when the grasshoppers came and ate everything green in sight—two years in a row?
This is quite an amazing account of survival in a harsh environment. Ma had to be resourceful and brave, and Laura and Mary had to be brave right along with her as they helped her do what was necessary to keep the family alive and fed. I really had to admire her resourcefulness in finding good whereever she could, and finding ways to keep her children happy even when things were so bad.
In this book, Laura and Mary had their first experiences going to school and going to church. We loved Laura’s opinion of the singing at the first church service they attended! We also enjoyed the chapter where the girls had a party for the girls from town, and Laura got even with the awful Nellie Oleson. There are so many wonderful stories in this book! And, even though there was so much sadness and hardship, the book ends on a hopeful note.
WARNING: Pa said Gosh at the end of chapter 29, and darned near the end of chapter 35.
Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12