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The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Frontier Landscapes that Inspired the Little House Books

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4.01  ·  Rating details ·  630 ratings  ·  171 reviews
A must-read companion to the Little House books

2017 is the 150th anniversary of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s birthday. Her beloved Little House series tells a classic coming-of-age story based on Wilder’s own family life and is a reflection of the pioneer spirit of the time. They are also deeply rooted in the natural world. The plants, animals, and landscapes are so integral to
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Hardcover, 390 pages
Published September 20th 2017 by Timber Press
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Eve (Between The Bookends)
Apr 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
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descriptionGreat cover on this one. Obviously it is a fantstic representation of the subject matter. It has great composition and graphics use as well.description

descriptionThis book was supremely cool! I am a HUGE fan of LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE. I grew up reading the books and watching the TV show. I am pretty sure I have seen the repeats so often I could give you the dialogue from whole episodes verbatim. *lol* So I knew the minute I saw this one available for review that it was meant to be mine.

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This book was stuffed
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Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
This is a really cool book for those who are interested not only in the stories of the Little House in the Prairie, but also in the lifestyle of the day. There are tons of pictures, maps, even botanical drawings of the plants that grow in various places the Ingallses have lived in. You will also find pictures of the actual Ingalls sisters, Laura's husband Almanzo, as well as other members of the family. Aside from that though, it includes a lot of detail about life back then, in all its facets - ...more
Maureen Timerman
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
This year Laura Ingalls Wilder would be celebrating her 150th birthday, and this book shows just what the world she lived in was like.
We get a taste of just about everything here, from what the landscape looked like, what her gardens were like, and even a few cherished photos.
Not only do we see what life was like and about what it looked like for a young Laura, we do the same for Amanzo in this farm up by the St Lawrence River in New York.
Come and get lost in Laura’s world, I loved this look
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Lori
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was a lucky giveaway winner of "The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Marta McDowell writes and interesting take on Laura Ingalls Wilder. She maps out all the place Laura lived and writes of what the land was like there. What kind of things they planted, what the weather could be like. She shared pictures of what farming tools etc they may have used. When possible, she even showed actual pictures of Laura, Almanzo, Rose and a couple of the rest of her family. There is even a gardening section ...more
Renata
Oct 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, grownup
ok this is kind of on me because I just saw "The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder" on the new books list and requested it because I loved those books and she's my problematic fave, but then when the book came in I was like "oh it's like.....literally the world?" Like literally Marta McDowell combed through all the books and found all the plants she mentioned and it's about those plants.

It's...an impressive work....of plants...but I don't like....care that much about plants, so I kind of
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Sunnie
Apr 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I grew up on Laura Ingalls Wilder. I was a Minnesota gal! My favorite teacher shared two wonderful book series with us. The Box Car Children and all things Laura Ingalls Wilder!

I fell in love with the pioneering spirit of these wonderful books. The trials, the joy, sadness and heartache that all was apart of their lives.

As an adult, I returned to Minnesota and we visited Burr Oak, in Iowa which was not far from my Minnesota border town home. Now I've shared my love of these books with my
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Jess
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
**I received an advanced reader’s copy through NetGalley of this book in exchange for an honest review**

McDowell explores Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life through the flora and fauna found in the Little House books and at the homes and prairies of Wilder and her family. Along the way, McDowell offers historical notes about flora varietals and nineteenth and early twentieth century trends in agriculture. Vibrant illustrations and drawings appear throughout the text.

Before reading this book, I never
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Janilyn Kocher
Apr 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
2017 is the 150th Birthday of Laura Ingalls Wilder and there are a profusion of blogs, posts, and books out or forthcoming. The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder is part of the trend. It's a nice book full of descriptions of the flora, fauna, and terrain of the regions Wilder resided. One of the aspects I liked the best was the author's interspersed vignettes of her own family's garden, flowers, and produce harvests. I found the charts listing all the plants grown at Rocky Ridge derived from Rose ...more
Jana
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars, arcs, giveaways
I was a big fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder's LITTLE HOUSE books as a kid, and I'm rediscovering them as an adult, so Marta McDowell's The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder seemed like a great book to read alongside the LITTLE HOUSE books. If at all possible, I highly recommend reading Wilder's books as close to concurrently as can be managed with McDowell's text, because there are lots of references and details in McDowell's work that you might not have an immediate recollection for if the last time ...more
Rosanna
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Like many women in America, I grew up reading all of Wilder's "Little House" books. For my 10th birthday my mother made me a prairie dress and bonnet so I could pretend that I was Laura Ingalls, living on the prairie and struggling through the many hardships that she experienced with her family. Growing up in Southern California, I wasn't familiar with the places where the Ingalls family lived, but learned a bit about geography and plants through her books.

This book serves as an adult fix for me
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Mandy
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A wonderfully evocative and informative account of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life and work, and her travels across America. Beautifully illustrated, reading it was such a joy. A must-read for anyone who loved – or indeed loves - the Little House on the Prairie books, but also for anyone interested in the history of the times and places Wilder knew so well.
Marta McDowell
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Well, I did write it... But please post your comments, I'm super interested in reader reaction.
Beth Cato
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I received this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program.

This book is a fascinating work of scholarship that focuses on a unique angle of Laura Ingalls Wilder's life: that of the flora and fauna described in her books and other personal writing. She had a wonderful knack for describing settings, making them come to life through her words, and this book takes that further by adding historical context and fantastically detailed descriptions and photographs.

McDowell goes through each
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Tamsen
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-favorites
Lovely! I really loved this botany tour through the Ingalls books. I was glad to see pokeweed featured (I was educated in pokeweed by my neighbor as I have some growing wild in my front yard) and was so charmed by ground cherry, I immediately ordered some seeds from Seed Saver, and later McDowell even mentions Seed Saver and I thought damn, if you could "win" at this book, Tamsen, you did it.

Angelique Simonsen
Apr 02, 2018 rated it liked it
a cute book that depicts Laura's life with gorgeous pics of the wildflowers and parts of the prairie life did get bored at the end though
Dorine
I wasn't able to finish this as my review copy expired while traveling. It wasn't available on my Kindle, so I read it on Adobe Digital Editions. I have difficulty with that software. It just doesn't flow as well as using my Kindle. My laptop has too many distractions and it doesn't go camping with me. Hopefully, I'll get this book out at the library and I can finish it then. I enjoyed the illustrations that I think would be better viewed in print. So, in fairness, I'm not rating the book until ...more
Karen R
May 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book gives an in-depth look into the background of the Little House stories and the lives of the Ingalls/ Wilder families, with a focus on the agricultural details touched on in the books.
I found this a fascinating read, as it meticulously follows the timeline of Laura and Almanzo Wilder's lives, including maps of their travels, townships and homesteads over the years. The author has done a lot of research, weaving together parts of the fiction series and Laura's biography, Pioneer Girl,
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Jill
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The story follows Laura Ingalls Wilder’s stays in Wisconsin, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, and Missouri. The book is not a retelling of Wilder’s life, but a botanical journey of the areas she lived. Maps, pictures of the landscape, and numerous garden plant illustrations accompany text describing living conditions, cultural and social relevance for Wilder and family. An extensive list of the plants that Laura grew and knew includes the common name, botanical name, work the plant is ...more
Jaime K
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a fantastic book, over which I have few issues (though they’re enough to make me drop a rating).

I had no clue what to expect when going into this. I’m the kind of person who adds anything that says “Laura Ingalls Wilder” and/or “Little House,” and then think about any possible consequences later. So I was surprised to see that this is a series of biology lessons steeped in Laura’s journey. Botany, phenology, and geology play key roles in McDowell’s book on common features of Laura’s
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Alana
I have read the Little House books several times and always appreciated Wilder's descriptions of her surroundings (no doubt enhanced by being her sister's "eyes" for so many years), but had never really paid attention to the detail of her botanical knowledge and descriptions. The prairie and forest lands she describes are absolutely vivid in color and variety, and McDowell's book brings those plants and flowers to life not only with illustrations and photos but with descriptions of how each ...more
Penmouse
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Frontier Landscapes that Inspired the Little House Books by Marta McDowell is a charming book filled with old-fashioned images that include wood cut prints and botanical drawings. Interspersed in her book our the stories of the Ingall's family's travels from the east to the west and the states they lived in. The Ingall's story often mirrored my husband's family's story as his family moved from the east to Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and later the Dakota ...more
Karen Parisot
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I remember reading and adoring the whole “Little House” series of books as a child. If you enjoyed those books, too, or are a lover of nature and gardening then you are sure to delight in this new book by Marta McDowell. In it she takes the reader on a tour of the midwest and great plains starting with the birth of Laura Ingalls in a little log cabin in the woods of Wisconsin and ending at Rocky Ridge Farm in Missouri where Laura Ingalls Wilder passed away in early 1957. Along the way she paints ...more
Helen Robare
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book would have been more interesting if I were more into botany. I did learn a few things I didn't know about some fruit we had on our old farm when I was a kid. The book was very well written and the pictures and texture of the pages were great! Not a whole lot about the Ingalls family though. The illustrations in this book were phenomenal and drawn in such a way that it was very easy to tell what each picture was of.

Since my parents were raised near Malone, NY...it was interesting to
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Daisey
I enjoyed this book, but it was definitely a slow read for me. I would pick it up and read one chapter about the next place that Laura moved with her family and then put it down for a while again. I really appreciated the combination of illustrations from the books, photos, and plant illustrations. It has a lot of interesting information about the animals and plants in each of the places where they lived, but the focus was definitely on the different plants in each place. It would be a perfect ...more
Karen
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Little House books are full of references to various plants - grains, fruits and vegetables for food; trees for shade; flowers for their beauty. The author is a botanist who "follows" the geography of the books and discusses the plants in the context of the late 1800s/ early 1900s. Not for everyone, but I enjoyed it.
Bunny
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Peaceful read

I love gardens an I felt like I was visiting some I had only dreamed of. Pleasant reminders and tidbits of information about the Little House books. Then there are bonus lists of plants so you can grow a Laura Ingalls Wilder garden yourself. I particularly enjoyed the trip across the country to visit the sites of Laura’s houses.
Erin Goettsch
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is FASCINATING (and much more accessible than Pioneer Girl) - a context/history of pioneering and politics and agriculture, based around each of the places Laura lived, when she lived there. Complete with government ads and family photos and fun tidbits. I adored this.
Jennifer Bradshaw
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jennifer by: Sue Gerth
I loved this book since it combines a few of my passions: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Midwest history, nature, and gardening. It is well written and very illustrated. I read an ARC, and I will be looking for a finished copy!
Art the Turtle of Amazing Girth
What a wonderful view into Laura's life

The depth into planting and other outdoor tips

I'm going to have fun this Spring and Summer

Plus, I'm inspired to read the original set of her books.

Anni Welborne
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
What a gorgeous book! And what an interesting twist on biography! Obviously, the Little House books are set in the forests and prairies of the American frontier. We all have vague notions of lots of trees and lots of grass, but this book enables the reader to understand much more fully how those trees and grasses shaped the people of the Little House books that we know and love so much.

I found the book utterly fascinating. I’m not an avid gardener myself, but I enjoy learning about nature.
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I live, garden and write in Chatham, New Jersey where I share my garden with my husband, Kirke, assorted wildlife and approximately 10,000 honey bees. You will often find me at the New York Botanical Garden, where I teach landscape history and gardening courses. My new book, All the Presidents' Gardens, is coming out from Timber Press in October 2016. (I'm excited!) When I'm not gardening I like ...more
“Since the late 1840s settlers used close-planted Osage orange trees along the borders of their farms, creating, as the thorny wood filled in over some years of trimming, a living fence “horse-high, bull-strong and hog-tight.” It was barbed wire in the days before barbed wire was invented.” 0 likes
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