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

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  3,262 ratings  ·  73 reviews
Chapter OneA Rented HouseIt was wintertime on the prairie, and things were changing all around Laura as she walked to school each morning. The wide prairie skies were no longer softly blue and filled with the voices of bobolinks and meadowlarks and sparrows. Now gray clouds had settled low over the land, and they promised a time of snow and cold and the hungry call of blac ...more
Hardcover, 164 pages
Published January 1st 2007 by Turtleback Books (first published 2002)
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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
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
The missing "Little House" book is reconstructed by Cynthia Rylant on the basis of unpublished documents.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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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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.
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.
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
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.
Naomi Bennet
Cute read. I always have to cry when Freddie dies. It's super short and I just randomly like it.
It was interesting, but the attempt to write like Wilder was almost too childish, and it felt off
It was good and I'm glad I read it to fill in the missing years before moving on in the series.
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
I was thrilled to find this book at our library. It fills in the gaps of Laura's story, during the time that she and her family lived in Burr Oak, Iowa. Cynthia Rylant did a wonderful job of writing in Laura's style. I highly recommend this for all Little House fans. Read this after On the Banks of Plum Creek.
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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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