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Old Town in the Green Groves

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  4,104 Ratings  ·  94 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 2nd 2007 by Turtleback Books (first published 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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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.)
Anastacia
Old Town in the 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", and is not a "real" Little House book. But, again, I read the entire series so I wanted to read all the books now considered part of the Little House family.

I actually really liked this one more than I was expecting - These First Four Years was so awful in so many ways that I really didn't have high hopes for this one, yet I actually
...more
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
Sep 16, 2007 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
Alice
Jun 26, 2010 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.
Tracy
Oct 08, 2012 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
...more
Mary Harley
Mar 09, 2013 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
...more
Jessika
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
...more
Andrea
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
...more
Editt
Mar 08, 2009 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.
Libby
Feb 05, 2009 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!
Olivia
Jan 22, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Did not seem like Laura, poorly written, compared to other little house books.
Jo Anne
This book is based on a couple of pages written by Laura Ingalls Wilder but never published. The story takes place between 1875-77, in a small town in Iowa called Burr Oak. According to the Foreward, Laura said Burr Oak was a lovely place and she had many nice times there, but I somehow got the idea that this isn't true. They had lost the farm on Plum Creek due to two years of grasshopper infestation. Not able to make a living there, Pa sold the farm, breaking Laura's heart; she had a deep love ...more
Hapsari Darmastuti
I have never read the book before now, although I have reread the Little House books many times. Laura did not actually publish this part of her life because in this book a lot more serious stuff happens. Because the grasshopper came back again this year, Pa cannot pay off his debt and because of that Pa and Ma has to move to the town of Burr Oak to manage a hotel. From having a big farm to living in one room, it's not a happy time for them. There's also the loss of Laura's only brother that I h ...more
Maria
Jul 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was wintertime in the prairie, and the things were changing all round Laura as she walking to school each morning. Laura loved the winter for its stillness but she also knew it could be cruel. Laura was not so worried about what surprise winter might bring this year, for pa had moved whole family from their farm on Plum Creek to a snug little rented house. Laura and her family is happy and safe in the town of Ingalls. One day when Laura and her sister came home from school. A big surprise is ...more
Lorna
May 11, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: junior-fiction
Interesting to read what happened in those years, but definitely reads like a filler book by a different author.
Darren
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nicely crafted. I read it because it fills in the gaps in Wilder's stories, and I just visited Burr Oak, Iowa, where part of this story is based.
Rosa Cline
Sep 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Lorraine
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
Laura Verret
Dec 19, 2012 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
...more
C.C. Thomas
May 07, 2012 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
...more
Lydia
Oct 06, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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

...more
Emily
Jul 20, 2016 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
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
Molly Grimmius
I have never read this gap book but my sister had recommended it, and it is so well done. It is not written by Laura but written in her style and you can tell research was done on this. I had visited Burr Oak when I was little, so it was great to put stories with that town. Anne enjoyed it once again especially the new babies born of course so sad when Freddie dies.
Holly
Jul 25, 2008 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 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
Nov 30, 2012 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
Sue
Jul 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Chris
Oct 10, 2009 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
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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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