Michele's Reviews > Little House on the Prairie

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
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's review
Jul 09, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: childrens-historical
Read in January, 1975

I read this book when I was six years old, and then over and over again until I was about ten. I loved it. It inspired my imagination like nothing else until Harry Potter more than thirty years later. For years, I wanted to BE Laura Ingalls Wilder. I loved when the grass grew long and I could pretend it was the prairie. When I was stuck in the outfield during elementary school softball I was imagining I was playing with Mary and Carrie. I read all the books and wrote my own biography of Laura when I was nine. I was thrilled to discover an actual biography (Laura: The Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder)!

What did I love about the Little House books? I loved Laura. I loved that she felt real emotion. She was bored, frustrated, and jealous. I loved the adventure: the idea of moving slowly across the wilderness with all of my family's belongings in one small wagon was deeply appealing. I was fascinated by the wolves, Indians, and the details of the cabin building. I loved the idea of living in the past. It was years before I thought about how difficult life would be without the conveniences of modern plumbing. I must also mention that I was entranced by idea of wearing a calico-print dress and making my own dolls as well!

As I grew older, I grew to love more historical fiction. I loved exploring the past. I fell in love with Caddie Woodlawn, A Little Princess, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and, later, A Lantern in Her Hand. I was able to experience the hardships of girls all over the world in different time periods. Little House on the Prairie introduced me to that world.

I have read a variety of criticisms of The Little House Collection. People are bothered by the treatment of Native Americans or the embedded sexism of the family. My response to this complaint is, yes, Ma was a racist, and girls were treated worse than they are today. But Laura doesn't like it! And she wins, in the end. The Ingalls family could not stay in Indian Territory and Laura is the one who becomes an internationally known author, while the rest of the ladylike girls disappear into obscurity.

I am now a school librarian, and still recommend these books to my students. The writing is clear and straight forward without being too short or short on detail. There is no doubt that the book must be read in context, but in today's school environment, historical fiction is often the way children begin to learn about history.
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03/19/2017 marked as: read

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message 1: by Hayley Olah (new) - added it

Hayley Olah This is truly inspiring!

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