Old Town in the Green Groves
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Old Town in the Green Groves

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  2,431 ratings  ·  62 reviews
Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote nine Little House books about her childhood growing upon the western frontier. But there were two years she didn't write about, two missing years that take place between On the Banks of Plum Creek and By the Shores of Silver Lake.Now, Newbery Award-winning author Cynthia Rylant has imagined what those lost Little House years were like, based on L...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published January 2nd 2007 by HarperCollins (first published 2002)
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Iben
Old Town in th Green Groves fill in part of the gab between two of the classic little house books: "On the Banks of Plum Creek" and "By the Shores of Silver Lake".

As I have read the later books and also read about Laura other places I already knew parts of what had to happen in this book but that didn't take the joy of reading it away from me.
I was a little disapointed when the book didn't close the gab completely. We didn't get to hear about (spoiler from "By the Shores of Silver Lake") (view...more
Wendy
It could certainly have been worse, but I think this was an odd thing to write in the first place, and I hoped for better from Rylant (who I do think was a good choice, if the publisher really wanted it). The writing is dumbed down in a way not seen in the early LIW books. LIW did well at increasing the reading level with each book, but this one seems to fall somewhere between the first and second (if not lower). I also felt there were many distracting incidences of "telling instead of showing"-...more
Alice
The missing "Little House" book is reconstructed by Cynthia Rylant on the basis of unpublished documents. During this two year period, Laura's family must move to Iowa to pay off debts. Moments of great tragedy (the death of a baby brother) are matched by moments of great peace. Some reviewers have complained that the style does not match that of Laura Ingalls Wilder, but I feel that Cynthia Rylant has done a good job.
Tracy
This book fills in the "missing years" of Laura Ingalls Wilder. The events take place between On the Banks of Plum Creek and By the Shores of Silver Lake, telling the story of when the Ingallses moved east to Burr Oak, Iowa, to run a hotel. The events are all real, but these are the parts of her childhood that Laura deliberately excluded from her series because they were too sad and tragic, and because they didn't fit in with the overall narrative of the pioneering story she wanted to tell.

I wou...more
Mary Harley
This book was written by Cynthia Rylant, based on the only two years of Laura Ingalls Wilder's childhood that she herself did not write about. Apparently Laura had about 12 pages of unpublished text which Rylant supplemented with interviews and research.
I could easily see why Laura did not write about this time - in two years she almost lost her Ma to illness, her family lost the farm to grasshoppers (again), her baby brother was born and later died, she had the measles, and she moved three tim...more
Editt
I marked it as a four just because this book reminded me how much I love to read about this time era. A lot of hard, sad events happen in Laura's life during this time but her family is so strong. They endure and continue to work hard. No matter what hits them they are always trying to remain self sufficient, pay off their debts, and provide a loving home for their children. I love all the Little House books and I am glad I read this one.
Lorraine Bellevue
Is it me, or is the writing style trying very hard to capture Laura's characteristically slightly stilted prose... and failing spectacularly? In the Little House books, there's a certain charm to the way Laura writes - it's stiff and formal and childlike in some ways, but it has a nice flow to it nonetheless. This is just... stiff and formal and childlike. But maybe I'm being too harsh. After all, I appreciate that someone took the time to write a book to fill the gap between On the Banks of Plu...more
Libby
I really enjoyed this; it included some events in the life of the Ingalls family that I knew about but which never entered the Little House series. Some parts made me cry!

Rylant does a nice job of capturing Wilder's gentle but enthusiastic descriptions of pioneer life and family life. This is much better than other Little House spin-offs I've read!
Olivia
Did not seem like Laura, poorly written, compared to other little house books.
Laura
Laura loves their little house on Plum Creek. She wishes she could live there forever. All they need is for this year’s crop to be successful, and then Pa will be able to pay off his debts, and they can stay there for a good long time.

But the crop isn’t successful. For the third year in a row, the Ingalls’ crop is destroyed – consumed – by grasshoppers. As far as Pa can figure, their only option is to sell the farm, pack up the family, and move to Burr Oak, Iowa, where he’s been offered the job...more
C.C. Thomas
I can think of no better author than Cynthia Rylant to take on this daunting task: to write the story that is missing from Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House Series. There is some part of her life that Wilder never wrote about and Rylant tackles it here, fitting this story between On the Banks of Plum Creek and By the Shores of Silver Lake. Rylant and Wilder have such similar writing styles that it felt as if I were reading Wilder again, visiting a long lost, but reclaimed, old friend.

The story...more
Holly
It was nice to read about the "lost" years of Laura's life, though I had learned about what happened during that time of her life from biographies. Since it was written by Cynthia Rylant the style wasn't quite the same as the actual Little House books and some of the characters seemed a bit...off. I felt it the most with Pa. Ma seemed more or less the same, and Laura's sister's also. Rylant did I felt sort of put her own ideas of what Laura might have thought more than I would have liked. Well,...more
Beth
I knew, going into reading this book, that it wasn't written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. And I knew that Cynthia Rylant was a good children's writer, so I expected to enjoy this story. And I didn't, and I feel bad about feeling that way. I wanted another Little House book, in LIW's distinctive tone. I The characters just didn't ring true (I just can't hear Pa calling Carrie Buttercup, or Mary Pumpkin Pie, for instance)- and it was so short and abrupt - LIW was so descriptive. And I know, I know - L...more
Sue
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rebecca
This book is based on the small amount of information Laura Ingalls Wilder recorded about the years between 'By the Banks of Plum Creek' and 'By the Shores of Silver Lake.' On reading the book, I could see why Wilder never made it into a book of its own: the family moved so much and there was so much tragedy and sadness during those years that it was hard to make into a cohesive, enjoyable book. I think the story will only be of interest to those who have already read and loved the Little House...more
Miss Amanda
gr 4-6 164 pgs

1875-1877, Plum Creek, / Burr Oak, Iowa. Filling in the gap between the events in "The Banks of Plum Creek" and "The Shores of Silver Lake", readers learn how 8 year old Laura and her family dealt with many challenges during their time in Burr Oak.


Interesting to readers who enjoyed the Little House books.
Kacey Kendrick Wagner
I liked this book much more than I thought I would. It's about the two years between Laura Ingalls Wilder's "On the Banks of Plum Creek" and "By the Shores of Silver Lake," but it was written by another author years after Wilder's death. I had always wondered about that gap, but with the tragic event that occurs during this time, it's understandable that it might have been too painful for Laura to write a book about.

I thought Rylant did a decent job of trying to emulate Wilder's writing style....more
Sally
An interesting fill-in, telling what happened between On the Banks of Plum Creek and By the Shores of Silver Lake - some two years that Laura Ingalls just never wrote about. Understandably so, when you learn that she in fact had a baby brother who died very young! However, this book just read really young, and was obviously NOT Laura, which made it a bit strange to read. It felt more like fiction than a true story.
Chris
A perfunctory book (it seems to be over almost before it ends), but it's still nice to see this small moment in Laura's life rendered into fiction. Almost half of the book takes place before the trip to Burr Oak, and of the remaining half, maybe half of that takes place with the family working at the hotel. Of course, given that Ms. Rylant was working with a scant nine pages of written history from LIW to work with, it's fleshed out about as well as could be hoped. The style is a little pithy an...more
Kirsten
I like knowing that this book exists - I always felt there was an abrupt jolt between On the Banks of Plum Creek and By the Shores of Silver Lake - and this book tries to fill that gap. It was .... a black time in the Ingalls family's lives, and that definitely comes through. Some of the brutal chapters are short and simple, in a way that conveys that words can't even express the depths of the family's misery. I like this for completeness' sake. The writing was adequate but not great. I think Ry...more
Allison
I was really excited about the prospect of reading about the "lost years" that Wilder left out of the original books, but considering all the moving and trauma the family went through during this period I felt the book itself was rather humdrum. While I understand Rylant was working off rather meager source materials I would much have preferred a more fictionalized account that more fully covered this period of the Ingalls' life.

I was also a bit confused because I could have sworn this book cove...more
Ashley Bowen
I wonder why Laura did not write this story.
Irma
After reading several reactions on this book I decided to read it again. I do feel there are some differences with Laura's own books, but it wasn't disturbing to me. I was happy to know what had happenend in the years Laura didn't write about, although indeed, it's a pity the story of Mary getting blind is not told.

Basically, I am happy learning of those years anyway.
Alison
Old Town in the Green Groves is all about what happened in the two years that Laura didn't write about, which was in between her two books On the Banks of Plum Creek and On The Shores of Silver Lake. It is about the things that Laura didn't write about, like how she had a baby brother who unfortunately died and how the grasshopper plague returns. This book has some unfortunate events but also some exciting events. If you have read Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series you will love this one...more
E G
quick read, very short. doesn't' quite make the leap to Laura's style, but it's not bad either.
Jennybeast
Cynthia Rylant totally missed the boat on this one. She added a super saccharine piety, in what I can only assume was an attempt to make the book seem old fashioned. Has she ever read Laura's work? She seemed to miss the honesty that's present in the real series, and the no-nonsense response to survival amidst trying and sometimes tragic circumstances. While none of the little house spin-offs can really hold a candle to the original series, this was the only book that I found truly awful.
Llwright9020
I loved this easy to read children's book. I chose it because I'm a Girl Scout leader and we're planning a trip to Camp Tahigwa which is 20 miles from Burr Oak, IA where this book is set. We plan to go there to visit Laura Ingalls Wilder's childhood home that she didn't write about but that Cynthia Rylant wrote about from Laura's memoires. This book answered some questions not answered in the traditional Little House books. Loved it!
Hilary
It was a nice "fill in the gap" book (for people who haven't read any of the many biographies about Laura), and the author tried to keep true to the original style, but it was lacking in description, character and depth - despite the subject matter - and seemed to be just trying to hit certain markers as it went along, rather than reaching them naturally. It also seemed a little short, barely covering these years.
Carrie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathleen Cobcroft
One for obsessed fans only - this book tells the story of a period of Laura's life that she thought was too depressing to retell as a kid's book, but my issue was that I just couldn't get into the storytelling at all. The language is very choppy and simplistic and I thought Ms Rylant story lacks some of the details that really fleshed out the original series.
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An author of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for children and young adults as well as an author and author/illustrator of picture books for children, Cynthia Rylant is recognized as a gifted writer who has contributed memorably to several genres of juvenile literature. A prolific author who often bases her works on her own background, especially on her childhood in the West Virginia mountains, she...more
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