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Little House #6

The Long Winter

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On the empty winter prairie, gray clouds to the northwest meant only one thing: a blizzard was seconds away. The first blizzard came in October. It snowed almost without stopping until April. The temperature dropped to forty below. Snow reached the roof-tops. And no trains could get through with food and coal. The townspeople began to starve. The Ingalls family barely lived through that winter. And Almanzo Wilder knew he would have to risk his life to save the town.

448 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1940

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About the author

Laura Ingalls Wilder

384 books4,644 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 2,393 reviews
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,406 reviews11.7k followers
August 16, 2016
This place is a double Hell Hole, compared to Plum Creek and its crickets. No amount of Pa's fiddle-playing can compensate for the fact that they all almost died of hunger and cold during this winter.

Remind me again, what was so bad about Big Woods in book one?
Profile Image for Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile.
2,043 reviews629 followers
February 11, 2021
I think this one was my favorite so far in the series. There’s just something about reading of cold winter blizzards that is fascinating to me. I can’t wait to read about how the home is built on the land and putting up LOTS of food to better prepare them for the next winter!
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews157k followers
December 9, 2020
I would have died ten times over if I lived during Laura's time

The whole family moves into town to weather the winter of 1800-1801 - and it's good thing they do. This was one of the harshest winters they would ever face. Snow soon piles over their windows and the bitter cold ensures that they cannot leave their houses. Their fuel runs out, their food consists of scraps, and Pa can no longer play the fiddle for his hands are stiff with cold.

Even in her toughest year, faced with bitter cold and starvation, Laura still conveys the beauty of the prairie.

Then the sun peeped over the edge of the prairie and the whole world glittered. Every tiniest thing glittered rosy toward the sun and pale blue toward the sky, and all along every blade of grass ran rainbow sparkles.

We are introduced to Almanzo as an adult. (The first time since Farmer Boy.) Laura (in the story) admires him first for his horses, then for his kindness and then for his bravery as he hitches up his team of horses to make a run for fuel for the entire town. I appreciate that he remains as a background character. Their love plays out so slowly compared to many teen books that it has time to bloom and blossom.

Wholesomely inspirational and heartwarming. An excellent book to read curled up under a blanket with a cup of cocoa.

“It can't beat us!" Pa said.
"Can't it, Pa?" Laura asked stupidly.
"No," said Pa. "It's got to quit sometime and we don't. It can't lick us. We won't give up."
Audiobook Comments
Read by Cherry Jones and accompanied by Paul Woodiel on the fiddle. Such an incredible audiobook.

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Profile Image for Diane.
1,081 reviews2,719 followers
January 12, 2015
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 and he saw the thick mud walls of a muskrat house.

Pa was shaking his head. "We're going to have a hard winter," he said, not liking the prospect.

"Why, how do you know?" Laura asked in surprise.

"The colder the winter will be, the thicker the muskrats build the walls of their houses," Pa told her. "I never saw a heavier-built muskrats' house than that one."

A few weeks later, a wise old Indian stopped by the town's store to warn the white folks about winter. He said there would be heavy snow and strong winds for seven months. Indeed, that winter brought many long blizzards, and with each one, the town's supplies went down. All of the animals had fled the area, so hunting was scarce, and the snow was so deep that the train couldn't get through to deliver food or coal.

(While reading this, I remembered that the closest thing we currently have to scarcity in winter is when the local store runs out of bread and milk for a day because of a panic over snow.)

Like the others in the series, this book has good reminders about just how hard homesteading was. Pa and the other pioneers worked long hours to get the fields ready for crops, and they had to build everything from scratch. When the family ran out of coal to burn for heat, Pa figured out a way to twist hay into sticks, so they could burn that. When they ran out of kerosene, Ma figured out how to make a "button candle" using axle grease.

"We didn't lack for light when I was a girl, before this newfangled kerosene was ever heard of."

"That's so," said Pa. "These times are too progressive. Everything has changed too fast. Railroads and telegraph and kerosene and coal stoves — they're good things to have but the trouble is, folks get to depend on 'em."

And when there wasn't any wheat or flour left in town, well, luckily Almanzo Wilder had the courage to go and try to find some more.

Any Little House fans reading this will perk up at the name of Almanzo, because that is who Laura will eventually marry. This book is the first one where Laura seems to notice him, which was sweet.

I think the purpose of this book was to show how dangerous those prairie winters were. Neighbors had to work together and help each other to survive. In the modern, self-involved age we live in, this story was a reminder of how a small town used to be.
Profile Image for Hannah.
797 reviews
February 3, 2012
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, SD in that winter of continual blizzards.

This is the time when you can really see the strength of the family Ingalls. Although I have no doubt that Laura wrote this with the aid of some time-tinted, rosy glasses and a due respect for her young reading audience, I also see that she didn't shy away from showing us how the constant struggle to keep warm, keep fed, and keep mentally strong wasn't pretty and wasn't easy for any of them. Pa's half-crazed tongue lashing at the blizzard, gentle ma's sharp rebuke of her beloved husband, and Laura's fearful initiation into the responsibilities of adulthood all make for riveting reading, regardless of your age.

I love this family, and never more so then in this book. This series, more then any other I can think of, makes me proud of my American heritage and the strength of its earlier settlers. We could all stand to have more of their type of strength and perserverence today.

2012 personal reading challenge for the month of January:
Childhood favorites that influenced my subsequent reading life

Adult Equivalent:
The Endurance Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition by Caroline Alexander
The Endurance by Caroline Alexander
Profile Image for Philip.
985 reviews264 followers
December 28, 2013
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 were no shortage of packages under their tree.

Not that I begrudge them going to Disney. I love that place. (Although, not as much as my sister... She takes it to a whole new level.)

The Long Winter, though, makes it pretty clear that we're romanticizing those times. The times were simpler - if you equate simple with hunger, boredom, and intense manual labor.

Not only that, but in certain circles, the Wilders are elevated to a Protestant sainthood. (Ok... most Protestant denominations already believe in the "sainthood of the believer," but lets set that aside for a moment.) The Wilder's are often put on a pedestal. That every decision they made was a right and moral one. (As they were living in right and moral times - as oppose to today's immoral, consumer-driven, drugged-out, gunned-out, society.)

But throughout the book, I saw them as people - people who made mistakes in very, very difficult times. There was a mob-mentality at the store when they forced Loftus to "see reason" and sell the goods at a reasonable price. True, Loftus agreed - and he shouldn't have jacked the price up in the first place - but I'm not sure that justifies what the town was doing. Or stealing from the emigrant train car. "'I'm past caring what he ought to do!' Pa said savagely. 'Let the railroad stand some damages! This isn't the only family in town that's got nothing to eat. We told Woodworth to open up that car or we'd do it. He tried to argue that there'll be another train tomorrow, but we didn't feel like waiting...'"

As a society, we can understand some forms of stealing - but that doesn't absolve the thief from the law.

Consider too, that this is what Laura wrote. (She wouldn't have been writing all the faults of her father in a children's book.) No doubt, the Ingalls were great people - but they were people. They were struggling to survive. They did what they could with little complaining - and that is admirable. But they were people living in a difficult time, with their share of mistakes and sins. In that way, they are very similar to all of us.

I have to look into getting Eleanor a goodreads account of her own. She's been sitting here patiently waiting for me to type up my part before she gets her say. She's got the patience of an Ingalls.

Eleanor: I've been thinking about my favorite part.

Dad: And did you come up with one?


D: What is it?

E: My favorite part was when they made hay while the sun shines.

D: Why was that your favorite part?

E: Because it was before the winter, and it was so nice and warm outside the claim shanty, and they didn't move into the town yet, and it was just so warm in their house.

D: So you didn't like the winter then?

E: No. It was too cold. Heh. WAAAAAAAAYYYYYY to cold. Way way way way way way way too cold.

D: So you didn't like most of the book then.

E: Well, I like the book. I just didn't like that it was so cold for so long for them. Because we usually have winters from December to February.

D: That's a good point.

E: Can you put a smiley face at the end?

D: Why?

E: At the end of the sentence. BECAUSE I'M SMILING!!! :)

D: Ok. I'll put it at the end of the sentence you just said. Tell me more about The Long Winter. What you'd think about it?

E: Pretty good. They were shivering, and they couldn't feel their feet. And they were selling wheat.

D: What was the book about?

E: KITTY! It wasn't about the kitty. I just saw the kitty and it distracted me. It was about when they settled in town for the hard winter. They were cold. And every day they shivered. And they only had brown bread and potatoes. Sometimes they had cod-fish gravy. Laura and Pa were always twisting hay into sticks for the fire.

D: Do you think it would be fun to live back then, or are you happy to live now?

E: Ummmmm... Either way is ok.

D: Why's that?

E: Back then they didn't have electricity. But I wonder how that brown bread tastes, and I didn't have cod-fish gravy.

D: You've had brown bread before.

E: When?

D: I think we have some downstairs right now. Although, I think it's softer than the bread Mary and Laura ate.

E: Why?

D: Because of the way it's made. ...So, if you had to choose - when would you live?

E: Now.

D: Me too. But, really, I think either would be ok.

E: Me too.

D: Should I put anything else in here?


D: I think that's the moral of the story.

E: What's "moral" mean? The "end" of the story?

D: No, it means the message, or the point of the story. It means, that sometimes times are tough. But spring, and the good times have to come eventually - if you can outlast the bad.
Profile Image for Cindy Rollins.
Author 20 books2,155 followers
January 24, 2018
While this is not the most compelling Little House book it is a very important part of the story. I cannot imagine a better
character building book. To live with the Ingalls through the long winter puts much of life's little frustrations in perspective.
When Laura says, "For shame, Grace," after months and months of suffering, and little Grace utters the first and last complaint of the whole book, belies our own time and culture. No, it is not compelling to be confronted with one's own weaknesses, but this book is a vividly drawn picture of a life lived with gratefulness.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
Author 38 books3,007 followers
July 24, 2015
The Long Review

Again, I get literal chills reading even just the beginning of this book – how high and fast the geese fly, knowing instinctively the freakishly hard winter that lies ahead, how the whole country lies empty of wildlife long before usual, the muskrats asleep deep in their thick mud house.

I actually think that I learned everything I know about foreshadowing from The Long Winter (and probably everything I know about cold and hunger). The novel’s leisurely, foreboding set-up – the heat of the haying, the meagre harvest, the muskrats’ deep building and the wild birds instinctive flight – then the old Native American stranger warning that he’s seen this before – Almanzo’s first appearance, casually offering directions when Carrie and Laura are lost in the Big Slough – blissfully unaware, as he lazes in the sun, how fiercely he’ll be tested and proven by deathly cold and those same long grasses at the climax of the novel, when he risks his life to feed the town. I swear this is the way I build a story, and I learned it here.

I hear echoes in my own work, too, of theme and structure – here’s Laura, drawing well water as the sun rises over a world encased in hard frost, thinking:

Laura loved the beautiful world. She knew that the bitter frost had killed the hay and the garden. The tangled tomato vines with their red and green tomatoes, and the pumpkin vines holding their broad leaves over the green young pumpkins, were all glittering bright in frost over the broken, frosty sod. The sod corn’s stalks and long leaves were white. The frost had killed them. It would leave every living green thing dead. But the frost was beautiful.

And it reminds me so much of my own character Rose flying through the war-torn sky over Kent, though I was unconscious of the similarity as I wrote this passage from Rose Under Fire:

I can’t get over how beautiful the barrage balloons are. I can’t even talk about it to anyone - they all think I am crazy. But when you’re flying over them, and the sky above you is a sea of gray mist and the land below you is all green, the silver balloons float in between like a school of shining silver whales, bobbing a little in the wind. They are as big as buses, and me and every other pilot has a healthy fear of them because their tethering cables are all loaded with explosives to try to snarl up enemy aircraft. But they are just magical from above, great big silver bubbles filling the sky.

Incredible. It is just
incredible that you can notice something like this when your face is so cold you can’t feel it any more, and you know perfectly well you are surrounded by death and the only way to stay alive is to endure the howling wind and stay on course. And still the sky is beautiful.

And both passages are fearsome foreshadowing for the life-and-death struggles that lie in wait for both girls later in their respective books. (In some ways, Rose Under Fire is DEEPLY influenced by The Long Winter.)

Going back to Wilder’s expert foreshadowing – I must touch on the early blizzards. An October blizzard hits the family while they are living in their shanty on their claim, and though they have plenty of food and hunger is a non-issue, the storm serves to warn them that they cannot survive the winter in this unfinished house, prompting their life-saving move to town. The second early blizzard, after the move, serves the plot in a ton of ways. The storm hits during school hours, so forces Carrie and Laura out into its teeth so we get to experience the terror of snow-blindness, banshee winds and “zero weather” through Laura’s eyes; it is this storm that first forces the town into isolation, eventually making it too dangerous to keep school open for the winter; but most important of all, hugely important, it introduces us to Cap Garland, Almanzo’s partner-in-crime in the heroic journey for wheat that is the novel’s climax. Cap is youthful and charismatic, Laura’s schoolmate, but he’s also the only one who recognizes the danger the school group is in as they stumble through the storm, and he takes action to save them. So right here in the beginning of the book we know he’s intelligent, capable, brave, and self-sacrificing. And this chapter is actually called “Cap Garland,” not “Lost in the Storm” or “Blizzard at School” or any number of other things the chapter heading might highlight. It highlights Cap himself.

This book is absolutely beautifully structured, and I can’t ever read it now without noticing it. Even Laura and Carrie’s trip down Main Street to buy Pa’s Christmas present serves a dual purpose – it gives the reader a chance to see through Laura’s eyes the emptiness of both grocery stores as the town waits anxiously for a supply train to get through. The frightening wildness of each blizzard’s arrival is heightened now by the knowledge that every new storm sets back the desperately-needed train’s arrival by another day. There is no action or passage wasted anywhere in this text: it all serves to drive the plot, often in more than one way.

Almanzo’s point of view is woven throughout the book so that the reader is used to seeing things from his point of view when the climax comes, but what he’s thinking is also important as it builds tension as he tries to save his own wheat. Eventually Laura’s and Almanzo’s storylines come together: it is Pa’s discovery of Almanzo’s hidden seed wheat that makes Almanzo realize there are people in the town who are literally in danger of starving to death, and precipitates his quest. (I like the way Pa is “Pa” in the text when the third person narrator is in Laura’s head, but he is “Mr. Ingalls” when the narrator is in Almanzo’s head.)

And then the suspense, my God - in the chapter “For Daily Bread” she details the whole trip in the freezing cold as Cap and Almanzo find the mythic wheat, but they are in danger of losing their feet to frostbite on the journey back, the horses keep floundering in deep snow, they are never sure of their location, and just as the sun is setting and the next blizzard cloud is swirling in from the northwest, the chapter ends, and WE CUT TO A WHOLE CHAPTER BACK IN THE COLD, FOODLESS DARK INGALLS HOUSE.

It’s masterful.

In the last chapter, “Christmas in May” (I think – the book is out of my hands at the moment) the Boasts come and share “Christmas” dinner with the family, and of course that Pa is able to play his fiddle again – order and sanity is restored, all these hugely important things they have been deprived of all winter, social interaction and music and warmth and color, are back in their world. But I also really love that basically this chapter is just an orgy of food. The whole Christmas dinner is described in exquisite detail including scent and taste and color and texture, as they prepare it and eat it and have second and third helpings.

Praise God for bread.


On the end paper, in the back of my copy, handwritten in pencil, is the toll free number to report power outages to the local electric company in Central Pennsylvania. My grandmother and I read the whole book aloud to each other in three days, snowbound during the blizzard of March 1993. I love this obscure memento.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Manybooks.
3,211 reviews104 followers
January 22, 2021
Albeit that the sixth instalment of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series, although her biographical and Newbery Honour winning (from 1941) The Long Winter (about the harsh, relentlessly frigid and plagued by continuous blizzards winter of 1880/1881) reads intensely and with a rather prominent feeling of a vague but also ever-present fear that not only the Ingalls family but many residents of De Smet South Dakota could perhaps be facing actual starvation etc. (once it becomes clear that the relentless blizzards will not be ceasing and that there in fact will also be no more supply trains into town until springtime), The Long Winter is also and always has been my absolute and hands-down favourite of the ALL of Little House on the Prairie novels. For while Laura Ingalls Wilder’s text is at times painfully fervent and with an understated but at the same time always glowing emotionality and expressiveness, any potential negativity, starvation and blizzard threat is in my humble opinion also quite mitigated and made bearable by Laura Ingalls Wilder’s narrational representation of how the Ingalls through ingenuity, perseverance and working together as a family unit manage to survive the harsh conditions of said long and stressful winter (by grinding whole wheat kernels for bread, by burning hay when there is no more coal and with everyone from Charles Ingalls to his children pitching in and helping out). Delightfully engaging and from where I am standing, both historically accurate and authentic feeling in scope, I absolutely have adored The Long Winter for decades, and yes, to the point of it now being a permanent member on my favourites shelf.

And yes, and finally, with regard to obtaining historically relevant and interesting, enlightening knowledge in The Long Winter, Laura Ingalls Wilder also clearly and emphatically shows to her intended audience, demonstrates to her young readership that for pioneer families, that in 19th century America, harsh winters with multiple blizzards and extremely cold temperatures could even stop the railroads for months, could leave entire towns with no supplies and no ways and means to get basic necessities for its residents, that winter in the olden days was therefore not just about skating and snowball fights but also and unfortunately a time of potential dangers and want (and not to mention that I also very much do appreciate how Charles Ingalls is depicted in The Long Winter as taking sufficiently seriously that autumn warning by an elderly Native American of a very long and relentless winter to come, that he appreciates and takes to heart the warning even if his wife, even if much more prejudicial Caroline Ingalls is at first not convinced and even quite majorly annoyed that her husband, that Pa Ingalls would believe and take seriously the warnings of a by her so very much feared, not to be trusted and despised “Indian”).
Profile Image for Bonnie DeMoss.
832 reviews97 followers
December 24, 2022
I've read this book many times. The most recent date is after I read it on Kindle for the first time. It's always been my favorite in the series. The reason I like it so much is that it shows how pioneers survived under extreme conditions, and how people and towns sacrificed for each other. It also describes Christmas as it should be: few gifts but lots of love and thankfulness. And the gifts they gave were given from self sacrifice and received with great appreciation. It wasn't about how much money you could spend. We have lost something in the age of technology and prosperity. This book reminds me of that.

EDIT 7/7/20: My most recent reading of The Long Winter was an audiobook. Here is my review.

This is my favorite Laura Ingalls Wilder book. It tells of the Ingalls struggles through a difficult winter where storms continued to hit and trains couldn’t get through. It captures the ingenuity and fortitude of the pioneers as they struggle to find food and heat their homes with blizzards raging outside and no supplies coming in.

The narration by Cherry Jones is great. What I love about this performance is when the Ingalls are singing songs, the narrator actually sings them. And when Pa is playing the fiddle, there is real fiddle music.

This is not just a beloved children’s series. It is American history, and a must read for anyone curious as to how the pioneers survived.
Profile Image for Antje.
627 reviews42 followers
March 17, 2018
Es ist nun mittlerweile das sechste Buch aus der Reihe von Laura Ingalls Wilder, das ich gelesen habe und in meinen Augen ist es das bislang eindrucksvollste.
Wilder berichtet in diesem Teil von einem sieben Monate anhaltenden Winter, in dem Blizzards auf dem Tagesprogramm stehen, die Ortschaften voneinander abschneiden und dadurch die Versorgungslage vieler Familien lebensgefährlich bedrohen.

Sie berichtet anschaulich von der Eintönigkeit der Tage, eingeschlossen in den Wohnräumen; der eisigen Kälte als das Feuerholz ausgeht; der mühseligen Arbeit, Heu zu Stöcken zu drehen, um damit den Ofen zu heizen; der Angst um den Vater, der jeden Tag aus der Stadt zu ihrer Hütte und den Ställen fährt, um mehr Heu einzufahren; und schließlich der Sorge über das Mehl, das allmählich zur Neige geht.
Die Räume waren ständig kalt und dunkel, da sie auch an Licht sparen mussten. Die Schule war geschlossen und die Freunde ebenso abgekapselt zu Hause hockend. Wie der Tag so wurde auch das Essen eintöniger und trist. Der Zug mit den Weihnachtsgeschenken erreichte sie erst im Mai. - Und dennoch überstehen sie die harten Monate ohne Krankheit und größerer Not, weil es die Eltern verstehen, mit Phantasie und Besonnenheit ihre vier Kinder abzulenken und zu ermutigen. Der Vater spielt auf seiner Fidel, so lange seine durch die Kälte steif gewordenen Finger es erlauben. Die Mutter stimmt Lieder an und schlägt vor, Artikel aus Zeitungen und Zeitschriften sparsam zu lesen, um sich viele Tage daran erfreuen zu können.
Aber nicht nur die Eltern, sondern auch die Hilfsbereitschaft von ihren Nachbarn, den beiden Wilder-Söhnen, beeindruckte mich zutiefst.

Bei all den Entbehrungen, die diese Familien sieben Monate durchlebten, schäme ich mich ein bisschen über mein tägliches Lamento über den zu langen Winter.
Profile Image for Kathryn.
4,341 reviews
February 27, 2013
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 fiddle music has helped them through tough times before) but somehow the Ingalls family finds strength within the love of their family and by keeping their Faith and their story is truly inspiring. How vividly I remember, even from my childhood when my mom read this to me, how Laura had to twist hay into “logs” to burn day in and day out, while Ma and the other girls huddled around the meager warmth of the stove, someone turning the coffee grinder every moment to produce the wee bit of flour from the seed wheat so that they did not completely starve. The story is also a terrific springboard for some thoughtful conversation with young people about morals and how people act during harrowing times (I’m thinking here especially about the chapters involving the stored seed wheat). Five bright, shining stars for this one!
Profile Image for Christina DeVane.
375 reviews32 followers
March 4, 2022
Updated: Read aloud to my boys October 2021-March 3, 2022. Perfect winter read and it took us all winter to get through it.😁
Boys loved it and always asked for more. I think their favorite part was Pa building snow tunnels from the house to the barn. Great conversation topics throughout especially about starvation and how we have access to so much! We had so much fun making up tunes to Pa’s fiddle songs. We ended the book by marching around the kitchen singing the last song at the top of our lungs! Baby especially enjoyed that!😍 Perfect memories together!❤️

2019 Read: Perfect nostalgic listen-to while I lay here in my weak and sickly state. It reminds me that my problems could be a lot worse, and to be thankful I’ve always had plenty to eat! This account is truly amazing; just when things seem they can’t get any worse, they do! It’s crazy to think of blizzards for 7 months, and the only way they knew was the Indian’s warning and the thickness of a muskrat house. We are blessed with all our weather viewings today. Man’s resilience and ability to endure was much stronger back then. I also enjoyed the music and fiddle songs brought with this audio although the narrator didn’t have a great singing voice!😆
Profile Image for Morgan Giesbrecht.
Author 1 book74 followers
December 13, 2022
Given the amount of snow we have on the ground right now and in the upcoming forecast, this story felt appropriate.

It’s a tale of a bitter winter. Of making do and doing without. Of pulling together as a family. Of finding joy in the little things when little things were all you had.

This is probably the darkest/most serious Little House book, and I had forgotten just how difficult things were. A small prairie town that faced food and heat shortages during perhaps the worst winter the region has ever seen and yet they were ingenious and resilient. It was literally a fight for survival with every page.

I had also forgotten this was when Laura met her future husband Almonzo Wilder… So much beauty amid the darkness!
Profile Image for Celeste.
933 reviews2,382 followers
July 17, 2018
We live in troubled times. There is civil unrest and prejudice and unwarranted hatred plaguing our world, across borders and oceans and digital platforms. It’s easy to wish we could go back to simpler times, to an era where a man’s word was good and pollution was decades into the future.

But I have to tell you: nothing and nobody and not any amount of money could convince me to travel back in time to trade lives with Laura Ingalls Wilder.. Nope. I love, no, I adore Little House on the Prairie. The television series from the 70s has been my happy place all summer. But as the series progresses and as I’ve gotten farther into the books, I’ve come to see the dark side of prairie life. Yes, this was a time before technology made our world smaller and gave us the anonymity to attack those who disagree with us with no concern about the consequences. It was a time when neighbors helped each other, and when man had room to breathe without the crowding that is so common today.

But it was also a time of extreme hardship. If you found yourself facing a longer, harder winter than you anticipated, you could very possibly starve to death or freeze to death. If a train couldn’t get through with supplies, or if your crop hadn’t done as well as you hoped during the summer months, you could watch helplessly as your food and fuel stores dwindled down to nothing. Can you imagine watching your children starve and knowing there was nothing you could do? We live in a world where food can be delivered to our doorstep, where aid is much more easily attained for those who need financial assistance, where school lunches are provided for kids whose parents can’t afford them.

We live in a land of plenty. Even though that same truth doesn’t stretch across the globe, there are people working on ensuring that no one, no matter where they live or how little they have, won’t have to go hungry. We have so much to be thankful for, and yet often we are so focused on the negatives that we forget to count our blessings. After reading this book, I’m thankful for so many things. I’m thankful for a well insulated house and a reliable furnace, and for a fire place and an unlimited amount of firewood should the power fail. I’m thankful for stocked cabinets and a full refrigerator and a freezer full of meat. I’m thankful for nonperishable food, for processed foods in cans and boxes and bags, even if I hope the day never comes when they’re all we have to eat. I’m thankful for my car and for paved roads. I’m thankful for grocery stores. I’m thankful that I will never have to endure the kind of winter that Laura and her family had to endure, and that starvation is incredibly unlikely unless I’m lost far away from home.

Honestly, I’m just thankful.
Profile Image for Jen from Quebec :0).
404 reviews87 followers
February 15, 2017
Ever since I first read this series at the age of 9 or so, THIS one stuck out in my memory as a favorite. It just seemed so much more REAL than the others, even if, yes, they are all REAL stories. The Long Winter was indeed that, with 7 months of blizzards nearly freezing and starving the Ingalls family to death. As a kid, I liked it for the adventure of it all, as an adult I like it for the sense of realism- they actually nearly died! Starving, eating crushed up wheat, burning sticks of horse's hay to live, it gives one a sense of how hard live truly could be during those times. Also, I love that ALMANZO is a majo player in this book, and I love the Cap Garland character as well. This is by far, my favorite of the series, with good reason, I think! -Jen from Quebec :0)
Profile Image for Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance.
5,871 reviews292 followers
March 23, 2020
I must have started and set aside a half-dozen books before I settled into The Long Winter. I'm finding it difficult to read in these uncertain times, but I saw Ruth recommending Long Winter on her blog A Great Book Study this week and I decided to give this book a try.

I'm very glad I did. If you are feeling worried and anxious, The Long Winter is a good book to read.

The Long Winter is the true story of the Ingalls family during a terrible season of blizzards that extended from October to late April. The Ingalls moved into town so they would have sturdy quarters as well as access to the supplies the train would bring through the winter. Deep into the winter, they learned the train would not be arriving, and there would be no new supplies. People were terribly worried as that would mean no way to stay warm and no food.

Reading about the way the family and the community worked together to help each other was helpful for me. It was also useful to put our current crisis into perspective. And it was somehow reassuring to see that not everyone was able to act in ways that put the needs of the group ahead of the needs of the individual; this was no whitewashed version of the situation.

This is historical fiction, and the attitudes and prejudices of the times are part of this story, so be prepared for that.

But, in spite of these, The Long Winter is a good story for these times, I think. It reminds me that people have always faced terrible situations, and that we must work together to overcome them, putting the needs of the group before our own selfish interests.
Profile Image for BAM the enigma.
1,898 reviews378 followers
August 19, 2017
Ok, this book officially scared the holy bejesus out of me! I hate winter!!! Absolutely abhor it. My job is considered "emergency personnel " so regardless of weather conditions I am expected to make my appearance. Laura suffered through SEVEN MONTHS of blizzards. Holy Christ! There was some serious deprivation happening in this small town of about 87 people. Wheat bread and potatoes with tea were the rations. I can currently claim multigrain bread and tons of tea as staples in my apartment, not much else. I eat Panera a lot. And smoothie king. How am I supposed to do that in a major snow incident???? I'm thinking I should start storing some provisions-like ramen noodles and canned tomato soup. Please God never ever let me live through a winter like this. I don't think I can have the perseverance and presence of mind these pioneers had, if for no other reason than I can't stand freezing to death.
Profile Image for Rachel.
Author 12 books154 followers
November 7, 2020
Any time I start to feel like my life is horribly hard, I need to reread this book. Covid and lockdowns and cancelled plans and no vacations are hard, yeah... but I'm not watching my kids slowly starve. I'm not twisting hay into sticks to keep my house just warm enough so that my family can starve instead of freeze to death. I'm not facing down day after day of numbing misery while trying to keep the spirits of my children from faltering.

I can barely imagine the kind of fortitude. I don't think anyone in this country really can anymore.

I read this aloud to my husband and kids this fall. My husband has never read these books, and he's more engrossed in them than my kids are. That makes it extra fun for me as a reader :-)
Profile Image for সালমান হক.
Author 50 books1,387 followers
December 1, 2014
নাহ!! লিটল হাউজ সিরিজ এর বই গুলা পড়ে আসলেই মাঝে মাঝে মনে হয়, তখন যদি জন্মাতাম তাহলে ভালোই হত কিন্তু। মানুষের লাইফ এ কতটা জটিলতা কম ছিল। আবারো লেখিকার লেখার হাতের প্রশংসা করতে বাধ্য হচ্ছি। :)

এইবারের কাহিনী তে লরারা একেবারে পাকাপোক্ত ভাবে হোমস্টেড খুজে পায় ডাকোটায়। ছুটাছুটি আর না ।কিন্তু নতুন জায়গায় এসেই ভয়াবহ শীতে বিপর্যস্ত পুরো পরিবার �� পরিবারের মানুষেরা যে একে অপরের প্রতি কতটা দায়িত্বশীল হতে পারে এই বই তার উদাহরণ। আর আলমানযো এর কাহিনীও আছে বইতে, বড় হয়ে গেসে ব্যাটা। রিতীমত হীরো!!! :p

কেউ যদি রিডিং ব্লক এ ভুগতে থাকেন, তার জন্যে পারফেক্ট টনিক হতে পারে এই সিরিজ এর বই গুলা :)
Profile Image for Suzanne.
1,648 reviews
December 18, 2017
This is not a series I can be subjective about - it is way too much a part of my childhood. And this particular book was one of my favorites. It has been cold here this week, but not nearly as cold as it was in the book, and I'm SO glad to have a heater and food! I love this story and the all of the endurance and ingenuity shown over the Long Winter.
Profile Image for অরণ্য.
217 reviews8 followers
January 8, 2023
প্রচন্ড তুষার ঝড়ের মধ্যে একটি পরিবারের দুঃখ, দুর্দশা গুলো সুনিপুণভাবে ফুটে উঠেছে। শুধু একটি পরিবার কেন। বইয়ে উল্লেখিত দুঃসময়ে প্রায় প্রতিটি পরিবারের অবস্থা একই ছিল ধরে নেয়া যায়। লেখিকা তাঁর নিজের পরিবারের মধ্যেই সেসব ফুটিয়ে তোলার চেষ্টা করেছেন, এবং সফলও হয়েছেন। সিরিজের এই অংশে কাহিনী কিছুটা ধীরগতির মনে হচ্ছে। এছাড়া বরাবরের মতো উপভোগ্য ছিলো।
Profile Image for E.F. Buckles.
Author 1 book20 followers
September 24, 2018
Another excellent read. I'm excited that Laura has finally met the Wilders. :D With all the blizzards and the family being stuck inside for the majority of the book, the story could have easily gotten boring or repetitive, but as always the author kept things interesting even if it isn't as lighthearted as it once was. I also once again appreciated seeing how they dealt with things like blizzards back then. Such a stark contrast to when we get blizzards today and get freaked out if the power even goes off. :P The Ingalls always impress me with how resourceful and strong they are. Three more books in this series to go. :)

Content Advisory:

Violence/Peril: Pa hunts in order to feed his family, but no animal deaths are described. There is some peril through much of the book related to the blizzards and the Ingalls family (and the whole town) worrying that they might not last the winter, but no one dies.

Sexual: Laura is a teenager now and it's briefly hinted that an older boy might like her, but nothing untoward ever happens.
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.5k followers
May 10, 2016
The family is finally done with this book, listening to Cherry Jones read it as we traveled over-the-rive-and-through-the-woods-to Grandmother's-house-we-go and over a few meals, even, and it was not always fun, sometimes tense, but on the whole it was good, as usual.

This one is mostly blizzards and near starvation from the South Dakota winter. Tedious, for a while, then realistically and impressively oppressive and frightening. They could actually have starved. They go months never eating in any given day what might be required for ONE full meal! If some of the volumes are a little sugar-coated (by that eternally optimistic, always-look-on-the-bright-side-of-life-mother, this one focused on the border of long winters, the hard physical labor of grinding wheat into grain and the desperation to survive. I liked getting a pretty good picture of that, with the kids, so we could talk about world hunger.
Profile Image for Fran.
1,060 reviews2 followers
November 12, 2021
What a wonderful stroll down memory lane. Growing up this was a avarice series of mine, and now reading it decades later as an adult my appreciation has only grown, for both the story and messages, as well as the wonderful resilient Ingalls family.
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