Scooping it Up's Reviews > Little House on the Prairie

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
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's review
Sep 13, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2nd-through-12th-grade, home-school-curriculum
Read from December 12, 2012 to January 21, 2013

Read aloud to my 4, 6 and 12-year-olds. Fabulous for continual discussions about work, sacrifice, not to mention American history lessons galore. I had to do some heavy editing for how Ms Wilder described the Native Americans. I refused to constantly use somewhat negative descriptors like "savage, fierce, wild." Ma, Laura's mother was terrified of the Indians and there were a few other characters who said things I would not repeat to the kids like "The only good Indian is a dead Indian."

We didn't ignore the topic or simply skip all Indian references as white folks settling in Indian territory was a huge part of the book. We were able to talk about injustice and talk seriously about where Pa and Ma were coming from and how Indians felt and how ridiculous the government was handling things.

Not easy waters to navigate with the little ones, but indeed I wasn't comfortable reading it as is. This all being said, my children LOVE these books and this one leaves with quite a devastating cliff hanger ending. They freaked out during the last five pages. It is so delightful to read a book that captivates the kids and transports them to a totally different time and place. And as hard as it was figuring out what things to leave and what to change slightly, it really is important stuff to talk about so I enjoyed it, too.

Can't wait to move on through the series.

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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Brittany My 8yo is reading Little House in the Big Woods by himself at night because he was having nightmares reading a certain other popular book right before falling asleep. I thought the Little House books were a safe haven, but I had forgotten about the negative Native American references! It's funny how things change through time. I don't Laura realized she was being hostile. I consider myself fairly unprejudiced in regards to race. I'm much less prejudiced than my grandparents, but I wonder if my grandkids will cringe at things they'll here me say!

Scooping it Up Brittany wrote: "My 8yo is reading Little House in the Big Woods by himself at night because he was having nightmares reading a certain other popular book right before falling asleep. I thought the Little House boo..."

I think Laura was probably highly sensitive for her time, but it still isn't appropriate language because the wording she uses and quotes the adults she heard using is really dehumanizing. She did look at them as "less than" and so I changed the wording to make sure my children knew the Indians were people, but different and that the settlers at that time did not appreciate that. It was a constant dialog to keep that in the front of the discussion. left alone, the text is pretty upsetting as far as Native Americans go. I didn't have ANY bad feelings about the author, it just was a different time.

Brittany Staci, I've been reading "Pioneer Girl" which is Laura Ingalls Wilder's original manuscript of her memories before it was made into the juvenile novels. It has extensive footnotes, maps, photos, introduction essays, and appendices. I haven't finished yet because I'm savoring all the little details like a nerd. It's great. ANYWAY, it mentioned that in an earlier edition of LHOTP they talk about when they were going out on the "prairie where no one lived, only wild animals and the natives." !!!! (That's paraphrased, but that's the gist of it) Later, a reader pointed it out to the editor and they printed a new edition with less offensive wording in that phrase. There were a few times they pointed out rewording between her original manuscript and what was eventually published in the first edition. For example, when she got sick as a young child and was attended by a doctor in the area who was the first black man she had ever seen. In the novel it says something like "she would have been scared of him if she hadn't like him so much." But in her original memoir she was just plain scared of him!

I'm wondering how you edit while reading? Do you silently read a few words ahead and just audibly follow? I think I tend to read aloud as I see it and it makes it a lot harder to "censor", as it were, as I read aloud to my kids.

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