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Little House #4

On the Banks of Plum Creek

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The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as they leave their little house on the prairie and travel in their covered wagon to Minnesota. They settle into a house made of sod on the banks of beautiful Plum Creek. Soon Pa builds them a sturdier house, with real glass windows and a hinged door. Laura and Mary go to school, help with the chores around the house, and fish in the creek. Pa’s fiddle lulls them all to sleep at the end of the day. But then disaster strikes—on top of a terrible blizzard, a grasshopper infestation devours their wheat crop. Now the family must work harder than ever to overcome these challenges.

358 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1937

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About the author

Laura Ingalls Wilder

377 books4,517 followers
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.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,188 reviews
Profile Image for Michelle.
811 reviews73 followers
September 25, 2011
Good grief, as an adult and as a parent, have I grown too practical to read and completely enjoy these books?

When Ma and Pa packed up the kiddos and left the Big Woods because there were too many people, less land and game to go around, I thought a little bit to myself, Um...Pa, did we think through this completely? Are you sure? Are we safe? But Pa is supposed to be an example of Great American Spirit. So, fine, we let this happen. There were some bumps in the road, but oh boy, we have some major battles for survival in Plum Creek. To the point where I wanted to grab Pa and yell, "Do you see? What can happen? With little research and no family to rely on, this new way of life you're trying out, riding high on the hog after that wheat crop comes through, can do to you? Because there's no wheat, Pa! Only grasshoppers. Listen to those freakin' Norwegians, will you? 'Grasshopper weather' isn't just some cutesy foreign term for, 'Gee, it's warm," it means that zillions of grasshoppers are going to take over the world!!!

"And by the way, Caroline, Pa doesn't always know what's best, so seriously do not let him leave when it might blizzard. Because then he might get caught in it. And be outside for FOUR DAYS with nothing to eat but the children's Christmas candy."

All that yelling aside, this is the reason (not Tolkien) that I want to live in a hill. With a charming creek outside. And I could skip around with my cow and my faithful dog Jack (and not my stick in the mud sister Mary) and hope my crazy, adventure-loving parents don't kill us all. Sorry, I'm yelling again.

Moments I loved: Christmas. Again. It just warms my heart when they have these sweet, simple holidays but are just so truly happy to be together (and alive, cough, Charles). They go to church for one Christmas, and see an actual Christmas tree, and Laura gets a fur cape and muff that blows away Nellie Oleson's.
Ma keeping the family together and strong while Charles is gone, making money to make up for their lost wheat, or when blizzards come through and he's missing. Oh, Ma, you're so tough.
And Pa, when he says to Laura, "We must do the best we can, Laura, and not grumble. What must be done is best done cheerfully." Word, Pa. The next time somebody's bitchin' at me, I'm going to preach some Little House to them.
Author 4 books582 followers
September 6, 2015
It's easy to get so stuck on the subject matter of the stories Wilder tells that we fail to notice her brilliant, deceptively quiet writing. Her descriptions of scenery are gorgeous, of course; but I love the tiny sentences that tell so much, like this one when eight-year-old Mary and seven-year-old Laura are confronted by a wild herd of cattle:

Mary was too scared to move. Laura was too scared to stand still.

Or similarly simple descriptions of the girls waiting for their mother to come home:

The house was empty and still, with Ma gone. Ma was so quiet and gentle that she never made any noise, but now the whole house was listening for her.

Wilder understood that the impersonal forces of nature are far more frightening than any imagined monsters, because nature doesn't care and so it can't be pleaded with or placated. When it destroys life, it's not being cruel or even indifferent. It simply is. As Laura learns when she thinks she can play safely in the creek after a strong rain:

The coldness soaked into her. This was not like wolves or cattle. The creek was not alive. It was only strong and terrible and never stopping. It would pull her down and whirl her away, rolling and tossing her like a willow branch. It would not care.

Later, safe at home, Laura reflects:

The creek would go down. It would be a gentle, pleasant place to play in again. But nobody could make it do that. Nobody could make it do anything. Laura knew now that there were things stronger than anybody. But the creek had not got her. It had not made her scream and it could not make her cry.

I hate it when people think that writing for children is limiting and limited. Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote for the entire world, or at least those members of the world who enjoy being captured and held willing prisoner by a story. She just happened to remember that children are an integral part of that group.
Profile Image for Sarah.
340 reviews96 followers
December 10, 2022
I’ve formed a strange and embarrassing new habit as I’ve made my way through this series.

I'll give you an example of this habit as demonstrated in my reading of Plum Creek. You see, little Laura has always been too rambunctious to sit still and learn to read. But, when Ma and Pa settle only two and a half miles from town, she and Mary must go to school. Laura finds that she is the only student in the whole school who cannot yet read, and the teacher gives her individual help whenever she has a free moment.

Still with me? 

So, in this one sweet scene, “Laura is able to sound out C-A-T… cat!” Suddenly, she remembers [a lesson Pa taught her at home] and says, “P-A-T… pat!” It’s a lightbulb moment, and she goes on to read the entire first line of primer words for her surprised and delighted teacher.

And at the close of this triumphant scene, out of my mouth… with the rich, warm timbre of pride and joy, came the words, “Well, that’s great!”

Now, this particular phrase is something I’ve never - to my knowledge - said in response to, well... anything.

But I’ve been saying it so often, and with zero irony, at the many wholesome achievements the Ingalls family gets under its collective belt in this story.

Pa brings home a team of horses for Christmas: “Well, that’s great!”

Ma’s vanity cakes are a hit with party guests from town: “Well, that’s great!”

The family members experience a devastating crop loss through no fault of their own, and they grieve it, but they also get right back up to try again: “Well…" (you can fill in the blank).

Reading this book, I feel akin to my honest-to-goodness 100 year old grandmother, Mary, who’s had every shred of cynicism beaten out of her by long, hard years of living. This woman quite literally has no energy left for listening to bad news, so she only tunes in when there’s a righteous shred of glory at which to rejoice.

In summary, this series is turning me into my tired, happy grandma, Mary.

And all I can think to say about it is, “Well, that’s great!”

(Mary Morgan, at her 100th birthday celebration last April)

Book/Song Pairing: O-o-h Child (Nina Simone)
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews154k followers
December 9, 2020
The Ingalls Family versus the World

Laura and her family drove their covered wagon all the way to Minnesota to begin life anew.

Their new house? Built into a bank, with mud walls and a grass roof. A dugout. Ma is not pleased (especially when a cow manages to go through the roof!) but the girls found little ways to be delighted.

There's a little creek full of fish and crayfish. There's school - full of new people and learning. And there's family - all together and happy.

Except, the crops are ruined . And will stay ruined. Winter is right around the corner and they hardly have anything to eat. Ma, Pa and the girls need money so they can survive. And so, Pa does what he thinks is best and walks 300 miles to find work.

Will he be home in time for Christmas?

Will he come home at all?

As always, the book is beautifully written and stunningly heartfelt.

Audiobook Comments
Read by Cherry Jones and accompanied by Paul Woodiel on the fiddle. Love this audio series SO freaking much.

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads
Profile Image for Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile.
2,025 reviews580 followers
January 25, 2021
This one seemed to be the most serious so far in the series. Things were not always happy and easy, by any means, but the family always made the most of their circumstances and survived. I'm anxious to read on and find out what happens next!
Profile Image for Karen.J..
190 reviews179 followers
February 8, 2023
On The Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Another absolutely delightful book, I am completely enjoying rereading the series.
Profile Image for Diane.
1,080 reviews2,633 followers
August 27, 2016
I was visiting relatives in Minnesota recently and was hit with a wave of nostalgia when I saw a sign for the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum in Walnut Grove. Somewhere in my mother's photo collection there is a picture of 8-year-old me, crouching by the grassy mound that was once the dugout home of Laura Ingalls and her family in the 1870s. Laura's stories from that period are told in the book, "On the Banks of Plum Creek." Coincidentally, Laura was also about 8 in the book.

I loved the Little House books when I was a kid, and last summer I reread the first three in the series. If you were a fan of the TV show "Little House on the Prairie," several of the town characters are first introduced in the "Plum Creek" book, including mean Nellie Oleson. (Nellie in the book is just as awful as she was on the TV show -- she is always sneering at little Laura and making fun of her "country" ways. What a brat.)

These stories have held up well over time and are still excellent children's books, with one caveat about the blatant racism toward Indians in book 2, the one named "Little House on the Prairie." In that book, the family had moved to Kansas and knowingly settled in what was still Indian Territory (a foolish move, but there's no point arguing about it nearly 150 years later). After some tense situations with local tribes, the family leaves Kansas and heads back to Minnesota, where the story picks up in "Plum Creek." First the family lives in a dugout home, and then Pa builds a sturdy wooden house.

Thankfully there were no racist comments in "Plum Creek," just some good stories about homesteading in Minnesota, including a grasshopper plague that ruined the Ingalls' crops for several years, some intense and scary blizzards, and a prairie fire. Man, pioneering was rough!

Like the other Ingalls books, there are also some charming stories of happy Christmases, helpful neighbors, and their loyal dog, Jack. I enjoyed "Plum Creek" so much that I plan to continue rereading the series. And the next time I'm in Minnesota, I'm going to stop by that museum.
Profile Image for HBalikov.
1,715 reviews638 followers
July 23, 2020
This is book #4 in the series. It can be read on its own, but there is much to be gained by knowing what Pa and Ma and Mary and Laura and baby Carrie have experienced. For instance, the first book has them in the dense forests of Wisconsin in the last quarter of the 19th century. A lot of their extended family live nearby. In Little House on the Prairie, they leave Wisconsin and journey alone into Missouri and, finally, Kansas.

In this volume, having left Kansas for Minnesota, they have traded their horses and wagon for a dugout home and acres of land on the banks of Plum Creek.

This is another kind of “wilderness.” Not one with bears roaming the dense forest or with Indians roaming the plains. Pa has (as all pioneers should have) an enormous skill set that allows him to dig wells, trap and skin game, plant crops and build barns and houses. As one season melds into the next we see all these skills being put to use. Ma’s skills are just as important and Mary and Laura are certainly expected to help with caring for the livestock, cleaning and taking care of the baby. Ma is always busy with cooking, preserving, mending, milking, churning, creating clothes and doing Pa’s chores as well when he is away.

Yet what comes through so clearly is that they have created a “home” and have a deep sense of “family.” And, most of all, it is a good life despite the snow storms, prairie fires, crop failures and marauding wild animals. Some refer to it as a simpler time, but it is clear that everyone is busy from morning to night and the opportunities for formal education are often too far away to be available. Church going and Sunday school augment the at home bible reading (one of the few books to travel with this family).

Our soon-to-be six year old had no trouble understanding that Laura loved her little rag doll (her only doll) and what its loss might mean. She also wanted to discuss how special the opportunity for candy at Christmas was and how one of the children they met was allowed to be “mean” and “selfish.”

From an adult’s point of view, the story moves along at a good pace and provides interesting details about what life on the rim of conventional civilization was like; what was important to these people; and, how Pa’s playing the fiddle at night could make a tough day infinitely better.

Profile Image for Manybooks.
3,076 reviews104 followers
January 18, 2021
So yes indeed, in Laura Ingalla Wilder’s fourth instalment of her Little House on the Prairie series, in her published in 1937 and 1938 Newbery Honour winning On the Shores of Plum Lake (where Laura and her older sister Mary appear to be around eight to ten years of age and the Ingalls family is trying to homestead near Walnut Grove, Minnesota) there are of course and naturally some encountered and in fact be expected time and place oriented and based instances of ethnic stereotyping (a number of by bien sûr and none other than Caroline Ingalls rude and snide remarks regarding Native Americans, and that even though Ma Ingalls does seem to appreciate her Norwegian American neighbours and how much they are willing to lend a helping hand, she still often appears to act as though English speaking Americans are supposed to somehow be a bit culturally and linguistically superior).

However, for the most part, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s presented text is simply, delightfully and enlighteningly a story of 19th century pioneer life on the Minnesota prairie, of its joys but also and in particular of its potential hardships, how in On the Shores of Plum Lake, Laura Ingalls and her family strive to become successful farmers but are constantly facing and needing to deal with rather major weather and insect related set-backs such as for example a devastating and all encompassing grasshopper infestation (and how due to this, the father, how Charles Ingalls actually has to and in fact leave his family alone on their homestead for many months to make enough money working elsewhere as a hired hand in order to make ends meet after the grasshoppers, after the swarming locusts have totally decimated the prairie landscape, including the family’s hoped for wheat crop).

A wonderful and very much realistic and authentic feeling slice of 19th century American pioneer life is On the Banks of Plum Creek (and in my humble opinion and unlike so many of the older Newbery Award and Newbery Honour books still both in current print and also still very much readable, relatable and approachable for today’s children), and indeed, a solidly glowing four star reading experience for me, with the fact that Laura Ingalls Wilder’s narrative never once tries to make her childhood self appear as angelic and beyond reproach being really and truly very much personally appreciated (although I do still sometimes rather wonder if Wilder might be trying to make her older sister Mary appear at times as rather too much of a proverbial frustrating and annoying Little Miss Goody Two-Shoes in On the Banks of Plum Creek).
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
Author 41 books2,946 followers
July 16, 2015
Decided to re-read this preparatory to visiting Walnut Grove!

When I was 7 or 8 this was my favorite of the series and all I remembered about it was the creek and the school and Laura's rivalry with Nellie Oleson. Which is quite remarkable because that is only a couple of chapters, and the rest of the book - the BULK of the book - is the battle against poverty, drought, and mainly, GRASSHOPPERS. The descriptions of the grasshopper swarms are absolutely CHILLING. I literally had goosebumps every time they turned up, for pages upon pages. No offense, Andrew Smith, but I found these three trillion (an actual estimate) grasshoppers, in a swarm 1800 miles long and 110 miles wide, about three trillion times creepier and more horrific than the maneaters in Grasshopper Jungle, which made me go "ha" and "ew" a lot but didn't give me CHILLS. Truth is, actually, a LOT stranger than fiction.

As phenomenal as the story of the swarm is, what's even more chilling is that 25 years later the Rocky Mountain Locust was extinct. The last one was spotted in Canada in 1902. Scientists are still baffled as to what actually killed them. Probably it was us, changing the land. More here: http://www.historynet.com/1874-the-ye...
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.3k followers
March 23, 2016
Listened with the family to the great Cherry Jones read this on cd and it is really (again) so surprisingly good. Listening in the car from Davenport, Iowa back to Chicago to finish it, I can't recall stretches of road (gulp). What I recall is Pa telling his story of snow blindness and falling into a ditch in a blizzard and sleeping in a bearskin coat for a couple days under six feet of snow and then, when the storm clears, seeing he was very close to his Plum Banks home and trudging in. Makes RV camping as a way of engaging with the wilderness look a little tame, let's say.

Some great and memorable scenes: the leeches dance, the terrifying swarm of grasshoppers, the incredibly intense blizzard, followed by one of those sweet Wilder Christmases with almost nothing to share but oyster stew and no presents but Pa's guitar music and his blizzard survival story.

This is great autobiographical fiction, memoir, really, and a history of 1870's plains life for one (white!) family, a family facing nature as frightening as any Chthulu monster with some grace and music and game-playing and storytelling. A sweet, lyrical and evocative tale worth the name of classic. A great family story for a family to read or listen to. I am serious!
Profile Image for Andrea Cox.
Author 2 books1,629 followers
May 31, 2018
This series was a staple of my childhood! It was a pure delight revisiting Plum Creek for a reading challenge this spring (2018). Truly, I now want to revisit each book in the series, from beginning to end. Such grand adventures Laura had! I hope my future children (if God so blesses me) will adore this book (and the rest) as much as I.

I was not compensated for my honest review.
Profile Image for Celeste.
889 reviews2,333 followers
June 25, 2018
I’m still completely engrossed in this series. For the first time in Laura’s story (not including Farmer Boy since it revolved around Almanzo instead), the show begins to deviate from the books that inspired them. Some of the characters in the book, while still present, differed greatly from their counterparts I have come to know through the show. There was one change I’m incredibly glad that the show made, and that was the substitution of hail for the plague of grasshoppers that hits the Ingalls farm in the book. Those grasshoppers were disturbing and stomach-turning to read about, and I’m incredibly grateful that I didn’t have to see them on the show. However, that plague was morbidly interested to read about, and I couldn’t put the book down because I needed to know what happened and how the family bounced back. While I’ve enjoyed reading about Laura’s life, I’m becoming more and more thankful with every book read that I don’t live during the pioneer age. Their lives were insanely rough, and there was never an end to the hard work required to just continue squeaking by. I’ll take air conditioning and supermarkets over prairie life any day!
Profile Image for Karin.
1,333 reviews6 followers
March 30, 2020
The Ingalls family has come to Minnesota after leaving Indian country when they learned that they had been given false information about being allowed to settle there--this chronology is a big fictionalized, since IRL they returned back to where they came from for a time before heading to Minnesota, but the basics of all of this are from their real lives.

They start off living in a dugout that Pa trades for, near a creek, where Mary and Laura go to a school and an actual church for the first time; this is the book where we meet the colourful mean girl, Nellie Oleson (a composite character based on at least two girls Laura knew growing up) and the family has new, unexpected challenges.

This is one of my favourite books in this series, and I enjoyed rereading it. It's also the first time I've read it silently without one of my daughters either by my side or lying in bed a bedtime.
Profile Image for Karen Witzler.
471 reviews153 followers
July 6, 2021
I loved the descriptions of life along the creek bank in Minnesota, but now see the privation and days of starvation shining through Laura's eyes. Nellie Oleson is as mean as ever. Continuing to reread the series.

This was my favorite volume of the series in my own childhood, and the first that I read and read many times over, and yet I had blocked out that bit about Laura falling in the creek.

I am struck by the cultural value in the settler class of not being "beholden", even for a penny pencil, and how a specific set of manners functioned as a social marker of "worthiness". The tale of poor Charlotte the Rag Doll exemplifies this. Would Mr. Nelson have done the life-saving woodchopping for Ma and the girls if Laura had not been made to have good manners? And yet they are living badly on brutally conquered and cleared land - cleared by railroad capitalists using them as a vanguard in a different war of conquest. There is a jumble of threads here leading directly to our present political situation - I am thinking of the ideas in Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America's Heartland by Jonathan M. Metzl and how the tangled roots go back to our unexamined origins.

As with the other volumes, the series is well worth adult reading.
Profile Image for Darla.
3,256 reviews488 followers
January 13, 2018
This was always one of my favorites of the Little House series, perhaps because there is much to correlate with the TV series and its beginning. I loved watching it as a child in the 70's and forward.
Cherry Jones continues to do a stellar job in narrating this beloved series of books.
Profile Image for E.F.B..
406 reviews
August 1, 2018
Once again, I enjoyed seeing this historical era through the eyes of someone who lived it. Who knew a square broom as opposed to a circular one would be seen as a luxury to get excited about? And I hadn't thought about tumbleweeds catching on fire and threatening homes as they continued to roll as wheels of fire. I've heard of grasshopper clouds dimming the sun but to have it and the destruction the insects caused described was both frightening and fascinating. And of course, in the midst of it all, the Ingalls family continued to learn, grow, and be their lovable selves. So, I enjoyed this story and look forward to the next book. :)

Content Advisory:

No language or sexual content.

Mary tells Laura she'll get "brown as an Indian" if she keeps running around without her bonnet on.

Mention of many squished grasshoppers feeling slimy under bare feet.

The process of cutting up a fish for dinner is described but without mention of blood.

There is the threat of poverty, hunger, and even fire over the course of the book, but it never gets too intense and the Ingalls keep a positive, proactive attitude through it all.

A little girl at school who does not play well with others yanks Laura to the ground by her braids when Laura suggets playing a game other than the one the little girl wants to play.

This little girl is unkind in other ways as well including not letting Laura touch her favorite dolls and saying something disrespectful to Ma. Laura sometimes gets so mad at this girl she wants to slap her, but doesn't because she was taught never to strike another person. She does at one point however, get revenge by setting the girl up to get chased by a hermit crab.

Laura disobeys Pa and Ma several times and experiences both natural consequences and fair punishment from her parents. Once, she even comes close to drowning with no one around to save her. (She is, of course, okay, but upset after finally getting out of the situation.) To her credit, though, she does learn her lessons and doesn't do the wrong things again.
Profile Image for Philip.
966 reviews258 followers
April 7, 2013
Eleanor and I are here to review the latest installment of the Little House series, so Eleanor, I'm going to move it to the "Read" shelf.

E: What color shelf is Gwen's?

Dad: Oh. It's not the color red. There are 3 shelves: read - meaning "I read it," currently reading, and I want to read it.

E: Oh. Maybe for the next book, we could sit on the computer bench and move the Silver Lake book to the "currently-reading" shelf.

D: Ummm... Ok. We can do that. Or, I could I could move it to the "currently-reading" shelf right after the review, and we could go down and read a chapter.

E: FOR REAL?!?! TODAY?!?!! *Gasps* FOR REAL? Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me, daddy?

D: Nope.

E: OK! Lets do that!!! Um. Dad. We used to just do the review, then read it the next day. Do the review, read it the next day. But this time we're doing it differently. Cool, huh?

D: Yeah.

E: Can we tell now?

D: About the book?

E: Yeah.

D: Yeah, go ahead.

E: In chapter one they gave Pet and Patty and Bunny to another person. And in chapter two!!! Sorry. I'm getting excited. I'm starting to think about reading a new one.

D: Well go ahead.

E: They found a house in the dug-out.

D: What was that like?

E: That had a Hooooole at the end. Not a window. A hole. WHEW! THAT TICKLES!

D: What tickles?

E: I tickled my foot. *muttering* ...there's two kids and they had a dog for breakfast and the dog was yummy. the end...

D: Did you just say two kids had a dog for breakfast?

E: No. That was my fingers.

D: They're always goofing around during the reviews. Can we focus here please.

E: *Sigh* Yeah. You should write that part in the review.

D: I'll think about it.

E: Ok.

D: So, why do you like the Little House books so much?

E: Because Carrie is in it, and Carrie is a BABY.

D: But she won't be a baby forever.

E: Does it tell about Carrie growing up?

D: I'm sure it does. I guess we'll find out.

E: Like we find out about how

D: Yeah. Like that. (Eleanor is kind of excited about that part since )

E: Will

D: We'll have to see. Lets get back to talking about Plum Creek right now though.

E: I'm sitting criss-crossed.

D: What was your favorite part?

E: My FAVORITE part waaaaassssss.... whhhheeeeeeennnnnnnnn.... Carrie was like: (in a high pitched "baby" voice) "Ma! Ma! I want my breakfast."

We read "Grasshoppers Walking" when I had a tummy-ache.

D: What does that have to do with anything?

E: Cause Carrie's like... It sounds like she's crying it: "Ma! Ma! I want my breakfast!" You read it like that to make me feel better. Remember?

D: ...Well... I don't think I remember quite as much as you. Any other favorite parts?

E: When the grasshoppers were falling all over Laura and when they

D: That wasn't really a fun part though, was it? I mean, that was really bad for Laura and Pa, Ma, Mary, and Carrie, right?

E: BUT DAD! The person that reads the book. It's not really happening any more. We're just hearing about it. I wasn't crying during that part. I was just sitting on the floor, happy, smiling, listening.

D: Good point. Good point.

E: Why is it a good point?

D: It just is. Anything else?

E: Ummmm... Nnnn... (thinking) When... AHH! When it had "The Day of Games!"

D: Why did you like that?

E: BECAUSE! It had a lot of PLAYING in it.

D: Yeah. Do you think other people should read the book?

E: YES! YES! And I liked it when Laura and Carrie were drawing with their thimbles.

D: Me too. Can I tell them about the video?

E: Yeah.

D: We made a video of Eleanor saying all the chapters of On the Banks of Plum Creek. It's kindof long, but we wanted to share it.

*EDIT* We forgot to put the stars... the MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE REVIEW!!!! (or so says, Eleanor...)

D: Eleanor, how many stars should we give it?

E: Fiiiiiiiivvvvvveeeeeee!!! Five--iiiive-iveive. Five-iiiive-iveive.

D: Got it. Really, I do.
Profile Image for Kirsten Burger.
203 reviews29 followers
August 19, 2022
When I was a child, I related to Laura and Mary. Reading these as an adult is a whole new experience. I relate to Ma and Pa, and their fears and struggles. I cried listening to the audiobook this time around. CRIED!
Pa and Ma work so hard to establish themselves on the banks of Plum Creek, only to have their wheat field and garden demolished by grasshoppers. Those Norwegians knew what they were talking about when they called the summer "grasshopper weather." The struggle to simply exist and survive seems almost unimaginable compared to the modern luxuries I enjoy every day. I can't believe Pa almost died in a blizzard so close by to home. If I remember correctly from manuscripts, Ma was pregnant during all of this. What must she have been thinking, worrying her husband wasn't coming home? To be a widow with 4 children in those days would have been SO difficult.
In all the heartache, there are so many sweet moments too. I love the Town Party, Country Party stories. Nellie Oleson holds a special place amongst my book characters. Although I'm sure my perception of her is greatly influenced by the TV series I also loved as a kid. I love when Laura and Mary explore the Creek, and pick plums, and go to school. I love how they give up Christmas presents and treats to make sure that Pa can buy their Christmas horses. I love how the China shepherdess survives all of their moves across the country, and sits proudly on the mantel. I love how Laura gets a fur muff and cape, even BETTER than Nellie's.
This book is full of so much heartache and joy. It made me equally parts happy and sad. I will forever read and re-read this series. I can't wait until my children are old enough to love them too.
Profile Image for Anne.
502 reviews484 followers
October 11, 2014
I loved reading this book while camping. I wasn't exactly in a prairie, but it was great to read this outside lost in the nature. This book was so sweet and charming, and its simplicity was refreshing after some other heavier books I was reading. I loved following Laura and Mary around their underground house, picking up plums and playing in the creek. I loved feeling happy for them when they made a button garland for Carrie's Christmas, or when they got a new cow. And I could sympathize and feel bad for them when their crop was destroyed by grasshopers, and Pa had to leave for many months to find work. It was such an easy, lovely book to follow and I put it down with a happy sigh of contentment when I finished. Classics like that are not to be missed; there is a special feel to the Little House books that is unique to them, and everyone should experience it.
139 reviews8 followers
January 7, 2023
অন্য আর তিনটা বইয়ের মতো এটাও উপভোগ্য ছিল। মন ভরে উপভোগ করার মতো কিশোর উপন্যাস সিরিজ।
Profile Image for hedgehog.
216 reviews32 followers
November 6, 2021
It turns out Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote two horror novels and this is the one that's not The Long Winter. Not on the first read, but every subsequent read thereafter, a kind of spine-tingling dread appears every time someone mentions "grasshopper weather" and how hot the weather is, how great the wheat crops are going to be, because unlike the characters, the reader knows what's coming. I just about screamed at Pa's profligate spending on credit and kept waiting for Ma to put her foot down, but it seems I've gotten my canon mixed up: it's not Caroline Ingalls who does this (aside from a Demure Obedient Christian Wife passive-aggressiveness in not getting a new dress), but rather Laura Wilder, in the Rose series, who kicks up a fuss.

Treating all these as pure fiction, which the MacBride-written books almost certainly were to an even larger extent than the Little House series, I would love to draw a direct line between the two generations as to why Laura wouldn't allow Almanzo to buy her a fancy new stove - because the Laura in those books remembered the crushing debt her family lived under in these ones. *insert 'I've connected the two dots' 'You didn't connect shit' meme*

Honestly, despite these books holding a very specific nostalgic place in my readerheart, I've never thought of the prose as anything special, but good rabbit gravy the 'yell at the protagonists in a horror movie to get out of the basement' suspense at the still, hot summers before the plague of locusts... it's good stuff. And of course I still wish I lived in a little hobbit hole dugout. This seems important to mention somehow.

Odds and ends:

Audiobook: 6h25m, unabridged, read by Cherry Jones.
Profile Image for Sanja_Sanjalica.
695 reviews
August 4, 2018
If we disregard racist parts (but they do paint a picture of the time the book was written. with proper explanation of the context to the children, this could be a great lesson book about prejudice), this was a really fun read. I feel that, as more the family goes west, the harder their life is and the nature is more dangerous and unpredictable. Since they live closer to the town, we get more interactions with other characters. The book made me appreciate all the amenities we take for granted. Not sure if I'll read the next book in the series, but I'm glad I met this family.
Profile Image for Chinook.
2,242 reviews19 followers
April 20, 2018
The bit where Ma makes Laura give the baby visiting her doll to take home and the other mother allows her kid to take it, considering how few and far between any toys are - that bit killed me. How fucking mean. Also, this family has horrible luck with farming. I mean, it feels a bit like maybe they aren’t very good at it either, but still. Grasshoppers the first year is rough.
Profile Image for Jammin Jenny.
1,357 reviews183 followers
July 7, 2020
I really enjoyed this story set in 1875-1877 with Laura Ingalls and her family. In this story, they first move into a home in the creek (a dugout) - makes me think of the hobbits homes :).

I liked the historical information - the swarm of the grasshoppers that wrecked their first wheat crop. We also meet Nellie Olsen and Willie Olsen - they are really obnoxious. It was funny I thought when Nellie ended up covered in leeches.
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