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Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House on the Prairie”

BLOG #18 SERIES #9

WEDNESDAYS WITH DR. JOE

DR. JOE’S BOOK OF THE MONTH SERIES #77

LAURA INGALLS WILDER’S LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE

MAY 2, 2018

ESPECIALLY FOR CHILDREN

As our series gets older, more and more often, before a new book selection is chosen, I look around and ask myself, Which of the great family classics have we continued to bypass? This month’s selection had been snubbed so many times that I felt its time had finally come.

If ever books were made for television, it would be Wilder’s. Her sentences are short and the words are simple ones, thus even third-graders ought to be very comfortable reading them out loud. And much of it is dialogue. The pace is fast and suspense is interwoven throughout the plot.

Though the books themselves were popular with the young, it was the television series starring Melissa Gilbert as Laura, and Michael Landon as the father that made the series iconic around the world. The series ran from the 1970s into the 1980s.

I must confess I’d never read the book before, so I wasn’t at all sure it would keep my interest. Not to worry: it certainly does! I can see another reason why the book ought to be in every home library: what a book for a parent, grandparent, uncle or aunt to read out loud when children are present.

Laura Ingalls Wilder (1869-1959) was born in the Big Woods country of Wisconsin. She came from illustrious lineage: the Delanos; after all FDR was a Delano. Laura was only two when the family moved west in a covered wagon, west into the Great Plains, initially settling in Indian Country in Kansas; then it was on to DeSmet, South Dakota.

Since she grew up on the sparsely settled Great Plains, in the midst of Indian unrest and the mass slaughter of the buffalo, her autobiographical books ring true historically. However, the television plots, being fictional, only loosely mirror her actual life.

In this book, the reader will be deeply immersed in the lives of those who grow up in the Great Plains. In later years, such individuals feel boxed in by mountains—only on the Plains do they really feel at home.

Here are the books you ought to round up:

THE LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE SERIES

  • Little House in the Big Woods (1932)
  • Farmer Boy (1933). About Almanzo Wilder growing up in New York.
  • Little House on the Prairie (1935)
  • On the Banks of Plum Creek (1937)
  • By the Shores of Silver Lake (1939)
  • The Long Winter (1940)
  • Little Town on the Prairie (1941)
  • Those Happy Golden Years (1943)
  • The First Four Years (1971). Posthumous. Chronicles the early days of the Wilder marriage.

There were other works not part of this series.

Welcome to Wilder’s world!

 

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