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The Long Winter
Laura Ingalls Wilder
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The Long Winter (Little House #6)

4.18  ·  Rating Details  ·  46,652 Ratings  ·  1,042 Reviews

The town of De Smet is hit with terrible, howling blizzards and Laura and her family must ration their food and coal. When the supply train doesn't arrive, Almanzo Wilder and his brother realize something must be done. They begin an impossible journey in search of provisions, before it's too late.

Published by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1940)
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Jan 12, 2015 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was fitting that I read "The Long Winter" while visiting family in Minnesota. It was bitterly cold, the streets were packed with snow and the wind chill was below zero. As I read, I could hear the wind howling outside, and the harsh winter of 1880-81 didn't seem like that long ago.

Book six in the Little House series tells how the Ingalls family survived numerous blizzards while homesteading near De Smet, South Dakota. Pa first sensed that the season would be severe when he was harvesting hay
Gah, I love the Little House books, and none more than The Long Winter, the 6th in the series.

Although all of Laura Ingalls' books have a cozy, homey charm, The Long Winter brings with it a gritier, more menacing realism of what life would actually have been like for the American pioneer. Since it is a children's book, Laura keeps the threat light, but make no mistake, the threat of starvation is a serious and ever present danger to not only the Ingalls family, but all the residents of De Smet,
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eleanor and I just finished this up last night. A couple thoughts before she starts her review:

I saw a facebook post not too long ago in which the person was opining that they didn't live in the "Little House days." This was in regard to Christmas. They mentioned how Laura and Mary et al received only one or two presents and were thrilled and grateful to receive them. You know, that was a "simpler time."

Several days later, I saw that they were taking a trip to Disney for Christmas. And there wer
Matthew Hunter
Wow. Some free advice from Uncle Matt - don't choose The Long Winter as a read along with your toddler while at the same time reading Oryx and Crake. Atwood's dystopian nightmare's challenge enough. Throw in a claustrophobic account of near-starvation during a long, cold, blizzard laden winter and it's almost too much to bear in combination.

The Long Winter's unlike any of the other books in the Little House series. The sense of foreboding and doom is palpable in the early chapters. Pa can't quit
Remarkable how Laura is able to write a captivating, moving novel essentially about being housebound for six months during a long, harsh winter of blizzards. Perhaps more remarkable, she is able to convey the drudgery, the monotony, the physical and emotional toll of those dark days without the book becoming a horror story or pity party. For example, moment they realize Pa can no longer play the fiddle because his fingers are too numb and tattered from the cold is utterly heartbreaking (the fidd ...more
Jonna Higgins-Freese
I read this first when I was young, and a few years ago started a practice of re-reading it every winter, whenever I start to feel sorry for myself because it's so cold and dark. Re-reading it as an adult, I'm impressed by how cheerful they remained in the face of tremendous adversity. I love her storytelling, which is so simple on the surface, but really complex enough to entertain both children and adults. I agree with one of Kim Stanley Robinson's characters in the Science in the Capitol seri ...more
Dec 29, 2015 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The title of this installment of the Little House series sums up the theme - The Long Winter. When Charles notices that the muskrats have built an exceptionally sturdy home for the winter with very thick walls he points out to Laura that animals know things through the environment that we humans no longer recognize. Other signs are pointing to a cold winter and when a Native American comes into one of the shops and communicates his predictions, it frightens the settlers and rightfully so. "Heap ...more
Kressel Housman
Dec 28, 2013 Kressel Housman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: kids 10 and up
Review #1 - The Little House series was so popular in my school in 1975 that after I’d finished Little House on the Prairie, the only book available in my school library was the sixth in the series, The Long Winter. At 400+ pages, it was the longest book I’d ever read, and it took me months. Kids in my class even commented about it. “It’s called The Long Winter because it’s long book.” And that was one of the more neutral comments. Much more typical was, “You’re still reading that?” And from the ...more
Maria Elmvang
My mum used to say that this was the most boring book of the lot. Perhaps for that reason alone I never felt so. I realize it's quite repetitious, but you get to follow an entire town during a difficult time, and get lots of survival tips... should you ever be in a situation where they're actually needed ;) If I remember correctly it's the only book not told solely from one person's POV which I think was a good choice as there would otherwise have been far too much telling and not enough showing ...more
Salman Dhrubo
নাহ!! লিটল হাউজ সিরিজ এর বই গুলা পড়ে আসলেই মাঝে মাঝে মনে হয়, তখন যদি জনমাতাম তাহলে ভালোই হত কিনতু। মানুষের লাইফ এ কতটা জটিলতা কম ছিল। আবারো লেখিকার লেখার হাতের পরশংসা করতে বাধয হচছি। :)

এইবারের কাহিনী তে লরারা একেবারে পাকাপোকত ভাবে হোমসটেড খুজে পায় ডাকোটায়। ছুটাছুটি আর না ।কিনতু নতুন জায়গায় এসেই ভয়াবহ শীতে বিপরযসত পুরো পরিবার । পরিবারের মানুষেরা যে একে অপরের পরতি কতটা দায়িতবশীল হতে পারে এই বই তার উদাহরণ। আর আলমানযো এর কাহিনীও আছে বইতে, বড় হয়ে গেসে বযাটা। রিতীমত হীরো!!! :p

কেউ যদি রিডিং বলক এ ভু
Nov 24, 2015 Ashley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! LIW makes you feel in this book! You feel the cold, the hardness, the sameness, and the pain that she felt! It's amazing! I would hate to have to live through a winter like that! And Pa! He did so much to help the family! He's a great example of what a man should be! I also liked the look at schooling that we get in this and the next two books. That's something that has always interested me. And Almanzo and Cap!!! Bravo! You did what needed to be done! That part makes me so happy! And then ...more
Mar 25, 2014 Cynthia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
SO many memories of reading this book around forty years ago, when I was in third or fourth grade. I wanted to share this book with my eight-year-old son, but he wasn't too keen reading this "girls' " book. It is NOT just a girls' book. In fact, this one is really more about just how harsh the winter was to those pioneers out in the midwest in the 1800s and how hard they ALL had to work just to stay alive! Thought it was appropriate what with our "long and harsh" winter here in New England this ...more
Sarah T
I don't have a "Children's" shelf, so I've filed this under YA. I know I read them when I was really young, like 8-9. And then after Laura I got into Anne Shirley and those occupied most of my preteen/teen years but anyway. But from Silver Lake on, we're looking at Laura when she was 13 and up. So I guess it qualifies.

This is a dark book. It was one of my favorites as a kid. It was just the perfect thing to read in the winter when it was snowing. On my reread I find myself more interested in th
Sep 12, 2012 Tracy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was not my favorite Little House book when I was a child. The book, like the winter it describes, is long, and not much happens. Endless blizzards, darkness, freezing, near starvation... Where were the prairie bunnies and the gentle breezes and the joy?? Pa can't even play his fiddle for much of it.

As an adult, I can see it for the masterpiece it is. The Ingalls had endured hardships before, but this time they are truly helpless and in danger on the prairie. They've spent only one summer in
This has to be my favourite Little House book on the basis that it describes a real meteorological event that took place during the winter of 1880-81 on the Dakotan prairie. A winter full of horrifically low temperatures and killing blizzard winds that lasted from October until April with no supplies being brought into town from November onwards. The awful privation that the Ingalls family suffered because there were no supplies in this new prairie town make really quite harrowing reading even f ...more
Judith Teggelaar
Mar 17, 2015 Judith Teggelaar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable little story written for children but adults will like it, too. Anyone who thought that February was a bad weather month, would be astounded at what the "Little House" family had to endure during "The Long Winter".
Jul 02, 2015 Violet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mary got blind.
Aug 09, 2015 Ina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am so sad to see the new covers – they're really not pretty at all and don't do justice to the writing inside. Okay, maybe that's a bit overdramatic. But I loved the old covers, and I think they did a much better job of conveying the pioneer story than the new covers do.

The Long Winter deals with one of the most...otherworldly, strange, impossible (?) periods of Laura's life. You see, her family is settling into De Smet when there are whispers of a long winter that only comes once every twent
Jan 09, 2014 Cath rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2014, the-usa
The little town on the prairie, in South Dakota, is warned by an Indian that they are to have seven months of cold hard winter this year, blizzard conditions all through. And so it turns out. The Ingalls family struggle through the longest, most severe winter they have ever experienced. Thoroughly enjoyed this delightful book, suffered with them, laughed with them, and was amazed at their ingenuity and stamina. Fantastic descriptions of blizzard conditions on the prairie. Unreservedly a five sta ...more
This has always been my favorite Little House book, I first read it when I was maybe 10 and ever since then I read it at least once a year. The only other House book I enjoyed as much was These Happy Golden Years. Those two have been reread till they are in tatters and ready to be replaced, I can never get over how cold it must have been…
Sep 11, 2008 Art rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone, especially interested in survival
Recommended to Art by: My Mother, Kay Shutt
I read this book during a blizzard that lasted at least 3 days in Minnesota.
I couldn't get enough to eat so it seemed because the Half-pint and everyone in the book was hungry.
I also kept covering myself up and went to the warmest spot in our house to stay warm.
When I went out to the barn to do chores, I thought about what they did w/their animals and how easy it would be to get lost and freeze to death in a blizzard.
Was I ever glad when the storm broke.
Oct 20, 2007 Nova rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childhood
While it was being read to me I felt that I was going through something. I wanted to ration my food and wear my coat inside. Just reading it makes you cold and hungry.
It also made me afraid to have children. Pa and Ma could be counted on. I knew they would never let their children starve, they would make something happen. The idea that I would be in charge of someone's life scared me very much at the time. And still does.
Shawn Thrasher
Jul 05, 2015 Shawn Thrasher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If there is one over arching theme of the little house books, it's "all's well that ends well." They say many times, because many, many awful things happen to them. Perhaps the worst thing that ever happened to them in the novels though was the long winter (they had some tough scrapes that Laura didn't write about; we don't read about Mary's illness and how terrifying that must have been; we only know about Laura's dead baby brother from her other writings for adults; we don't ever hear about Io ...more
May 05, 2014 Cari rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh, I love this one! The Long Winter was one of my favorites in the series as a kid, and I think I like it even more as an adult. So much happening! So much tension! And when Wilder talks about feeling dull and stupid after such a long, mind-numbing winter, I felt she nailed it. This actually caused me anxiety this time around, despite knowing everything turns out happy and sunny and well-fed in the end, probably because of the soul-killing, death-bringing winter we just emerged from in real lif ...more
What else are you going to read when there's a foot of snow outside and everything is closed because it's -16 outside? I mean, come on.
Elaine Curry
Dec 27, 2011 Elaine Curry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The next time I read this I'll do it mid-summer. The entire time I was freezing cold and starving. My kids all agreed. :)
It's truly amazing how much they went through in this book. Wow.

Stories like this are what make history.
A Great Book Study
My third favorite in the Little House series.
Feb 22, 2015 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, juvenile
"The Long Winter" is the longest book of the Little House series and midway through I began to slog through along with the unceasing battering of wind and pileup of snow from the series of blizzards that racked the midwest in the winter of 1880-1. Wilder doesn't gloss over any of it, methodically describing the tedium of each day huddled inside the unheatable slatboard hovel they call home while the whiteout reburies the whole town in a continuum of arctic fallout. Many writers might have conden ...more
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2016 Reading Chal...: The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder 1 12 Mar 21, 2015 06:35PM  
libertarianism and capitalism 30 144 Mar 18, 2014 06:02PM  
  • Little Farm in the Ozarks (Little House: The Rocky Ridge Years, #2)
  • Down to the Bonny Glen (Little House: The Martha Years, #3)
  • Betsy Was a Junior (Betsy-Tacy, #7)
  • On Top of Concord Hill (Little House: The Caroline Years, #4)
  • Spiderweb for Two: A Melendy Maze
  • Molly Learns a Lesson: A School Story (American Girls: Molly, #2)
Ingalls wrote a series of historical fiction books for children based on her childhood growing up in a pioneer family. She also wrote a regular newspaper column and kept a diary as an adult moving from South Dakota to Missouri, the latter of which has been published as a book.
More about Laura Ingalls Wilder...

Other Books in the Series

Little House (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Little House in the Big Woods (Little House, #1)
  • Little House on the Prairie (Little House, #2)
  • Farmer Boy (Little House, #3)
  • On the Banks of Plum Creek  (Little House, #4)
  • By the Shores of Silver Lake  (Little House, #5)
  • Little Town on the Prairie  (Little House, #7)
  • These Happy Golden Years (Little House, #8)
  • The First Four Years  (Little House, #9)
  • On the Way Home: The Diary of a Trip from South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri, in 1894  (Little House #10)
  • West from Home: Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder, San Francisco, 1915  (Little House #11)

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“Laura felt a warmth inside her. It was very small, but it was strong. It was steady, like a tiny light in the dark, and it burned very low but no winds could make it flicker because it would not give up.” 1284 likes
“These times are too progressive. Everything has changed too fast. Railroads and telegraphs and kerosene and coal stoves -- they're good to have but the trouble is, folks get to depend on 'em.” 44 likes
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