Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Little House on the Prairie

What is the first thought that enters your head when you hear the words, "Little House on the Prairie"? I can scarcely ever hear those words without the theme song from the tv show entering my head. I know that not much can be written about Little House that hasn't been written before, but my kids are very much in a Little House phase right now, so here we are.

This evening during our family reading time, we will finish On The Banks of Plum Creek. We have been wading through the Little House series for more than a year now, with breaks between each book to bounce around to other literature. Last night, when I asked the kids what they would like to read next, all 3 of the older kids immediately replied, "the next Little House book."

And so I wondered, what is it about these books that remains timeless and appealing to my 21st century family. Even though we choose to live more simply than many folks in this day and age, we are a far cry from uprooting our family to travel via horse-drawn wagon across the countryside, living in a wagon until a new house can be built, and foraging/planting/hunting all of our own foods. Is it the real-life adventures by children so similar to them, yet so foreign in experiences? Is it the unflagging earnestness with which the Ingalls faced each hardship? Is it the secret naughtiness that Laura sometimes wishes she could express that they can identify with?

What do you think? What in this series still holds appeal for you and your children?

As a side note, the My First Little House books are a wonderful introduction to the magic of the Ingalls family for young children. We've purchased several used and they are all thoroughly enjoyed.

The illustrations are very true to the original style of Garth Williams' illustrations which lends a level of authenticity to the picture books that might be otherwise lacking.

Even though we buy these with Finn in mind, I often catch the older kids reading them and pouring over the illustrations. I think they wish they could visit this unusually magical, yet sometimes stark and frightening, place in time.


  1. dance at grandpas!!! one of our favorites. Naomi can't sit through many chapter books, but if it's a prairie book she sure can. & the picture books are a special treat. and because laura is me--a girl hoping for adventure and exploration, but still a girl, petticoat & all ;)

  2. I really loved the simplicity of the time. It was so sweet how Laura found so much joy in a corn cob doll. While we may not (or want to) live in a time of covered wagons, I think for my boys I hope they see the joys in simple things like that.

    I hadn't heard of the My First Little House series, we may have to give them a try. Thanks for sharing that!

  3. The sugaring off dance at Grandpas - wouldn't you have liked to watch Grandma jig?

    My girls love these. We have read them all numerous times. Also, the library CDs narrated by Cherry Jones are fabulous for car rides.

    It is interesting to hear about how they make the maple sugar and syrup, how pa traps furs, how ma makes a pie out of green pumpkin, how they grind wheat in a coffee mill and twist hay to make it into sticks. It is far removed from our life and just plain interesting.

  4. Joy, I wanted to tell you how much I love this blog. The posts are wonderful. The book choices are superb. You take the time to take lots of pictures. Thank you. It is a treasure.