Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Little House in the Big Woods - Laura Ingalls Wilder

Summary:  Wolves and panthers and bears roamed the deep Wisconsin woods in the 1860's.  But Pa Ingalls preferred to live miles from his nearest neighbors.  Pa built a snug log cabin for Ma and his three daughters, Mary and Laura and Baby Carrie.  He hunted and trapped and farmed.  Ma knew how to make her own cheese and sugar.  At night the wind moaned lonesomely, but Pa played his fiddle and sang to his little girls.  (Summary from book - Image from sfgate.com)

My Review:  The Little House in the Big Woods (and the rest of the series) are historical fiction books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  The characters and events of the first book in the series are based on her memories of growing up in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, but the books themselves aren't completely autobiographical.  Regardless of their authenticity, I find these books as fascinating now as I did when I was little, and my mother read them to me. 

Little House in the Big Woods isn't particularly plot driven but prefers to dwell on the everyday tasks of rural living in the late 1860s.   The story is told by a young girl, Laura, and is primarily about two sisters within a close knit family.  Consequently, my girls could easily identify with both of the girls' interests, emotions, and concerns.  Each chapters shares new details of life in the woods, so that their young minds were constantly being tickled with interesting, and previously unheard of, experiences.  From slaughtering pigs to churning butter, making maple syrup, and smoking venison, Laura describes life in her small cabin in the woods with both curiosity and innocence. Pa's stories about panthers, bears, and spooky noises, embedded within several of the chapters, only served to heighten my children's interest in the story.

Above all, I found this book to be both easy to read and wonderfully descriptive.  It is a perfect read aloud book and has simple, carefully drawn illustrations every few pages that serve to spark the imagination and pull a wandering mind back into the story (this is very helpful if you're reading to a four year old).  I love these books.  Granted, I have a sentimental attachment to them because they were an integral part of my childhood, but I can't adequately describe the satisfaction I feel, watching my children's eyes glow with the excitement of a new world discovered and the thrill of imagining a time so different from our own. 

My Rating:  5 Stars

Sum it up:  If you have young girls, you simply must read these books with them.

Read our review of Little House on the Prairie, the second book in the Little House series.

3 comments:

Gerbera Daisy Mom said...

Shhh...don't tell anyone...I've NEVER read any of these!

Sweet Em said...

GDM - I read the series again when I was in college and still loved them and thought they were interesting then...I bet you'd enjoy them.

Lori said...

I love The Little House series of books. Great choice for review!

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