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Old Town in the Green Groves

4.02  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,696 Ratings  ·  81 Reviews
For the first time since they left the Big Woods of Wisconsin, the Ingalls family is halted in their westward trek when Pa is forced to find work in a hotel in Burr Oak, Iowa. If they can save enough money, they'll continue searching for a new place to call home.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published January 2nd 2007 by HarperCollins (first published 2002)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Naomi Sarah
I actually love this book. It's not written by Laura Ingalls, but it really doesn't matter. Laura is just the same, and Pa is just the same (WHICH IS GOOD). I love their time at the cousins, and I LOVE it when Ma gets better, and when Grace and little Charles are born. (IT'S SO SAD when little Charles dies, though. And the ending almost makes me cry, too.)
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
Jun 26, 2010 Alice rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The missing "Little House" book is reconstructed by Cynthia Rylant on the basis of unpublished documents.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.
Mary Harley
Mar 09, 2013 Mary Harley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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 Apparently Laura had about 12 pages of unpublished text which Rylant supplemented with interviews and research.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
This is a good addition to the Little House books, but not a necessary one. Fans of the series may want to pick up this one if they want to revisit the series, but I don't think it's vital to the understanding of Laura's story.

I felt like Cynthia Rylant did a pretty decent job at keeping Laura's voice throughout this little book, although the one complaint that I had was that this particular book seemed like she was writing at a reading level that was just a little too low for my taste. Other t
Sep 16, 2007 Wendy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 08, 2012 Tracy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 19, 2016 Andrea rated it liked it
I've read this before - just once, not the countless times I've read the original series - but our camping trip is in the process of getting rained out, so when I realized our campground was only about 8 miles from Burr Oak, you know I was going to stop by the LIW museum there, and of course I had to pick up a copy of the book and re-read.

The story follows the facts of the Ingalls family as far as they are known during the gap between the events of On The Banks of Plum Creek and By the Shores of
Jul 20, 2016 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Little House fans
Shelves: little-house, laura
I know some people will find it hard to read this book and struggle with the fact that this isn't Laura's writing and it's not "really" one of the Little House books. I know, because I completely felt this way for awhile too. But I have been researching Laura's life and Cynthia Rylant really does accurately tell the story of Laura's time in Burr Oak. Her writing is not as well done as Laura's but I honestly saw some similarities. She didn't try to copy Laura (which is good because no one ever co ...more
Oct 06, 2014 Lydia rated it liked it
Filling in the years between Plum Creek and Silver Lake, which covers some hard times for the Ingalls' family, but is told with a quiet, matter-of-factness that blends well with the other Little House books.

Having grown up reading and re-reading the original "Little House" books, this story did fill in some gaps that had always made me wonder, which was nice, but was also much more open about the hardness of life that Laura's family went through. That doesn't mean the book was depressing, just

Rosa Cline
Sep 23, 2014 Rosa Cline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story itself is nice, the writing was nice but sometimes 'choppy' as I think she 'hurried' the story along (guess she didn't want to have a very long book since it was made for children) I was pleasantly surprised to read some of the story was 'true to fact' like the preacher's wife asking to adopt Laura because the Ingalls family was struggling so much. "Pa" calling all three girls by nicknames over and over again got kind of old at the beginning; and they said that Freddie had a headstone ...more
Mar 25, 2009 Editt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 15, 2014 Libby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Jan 22, 2014 Olivia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Did not seem like Laura, poorly written, compared to other little house books.
Cindy Dyson Eitelman
Ms. Rylant, a Newbery Medal winner, has taken on the job to recreate the lost book of Laura Ingalls Wilder's family history, the saga that begins with Little House In the Big Woods and stops with The First Four Years. She attempts to tell of the years between Plum Creek and Silver Lake, when the family moved from Walnut Grove to Burr Oak and Pa worked briefly as a hotel manager and then as a feed mill operator. I assumed she gathered material from as many sources as she could--Laura's journals, ...more
Laura Verret
Dec 19, 2012 Laura Verret rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
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
C.C. Thomas
Aug 21, 2012 C.C. Thomas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
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
Jul 25, 2008 Holly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 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
Jan 07, 2013 Beth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juvenile-fiction
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
Jul 03, 2009 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
Rea K
Aug 13, 2015 Rea K marked it as read-cant-remember-a-thing  ·  review of another edition
I swear I started reading this one when I was really into the little house books. However, I got bogged down and don't know if I finished it or not. Gack. This is what happens when one reads so many books. I can't always remember reading a book or not.
Jarring differences in narrative style (telling rather than showing in Rylant's case) and fiction-building liberties with "facts" as Laura Ingalls Wilder recounted them in PIONEER GIRL detracted from my enjoyment of this book. Not recommended.
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.
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.
Nov 10, 2009 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wendy-books
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
I just learned that Cynthia Rylant wrote the "missing book" in the Laura Ingalls Wilder series. No wonder it fits perfectly with the rest.

Well Done.
Apr 22, 2015 Abby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three and a half stars.

This wasn't spectacular but Rylant did a great job at taking on LIW's voice. The Freddie chapter made me cry.
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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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