Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
I've decided to devote some of my reading time to re-reading some classic books that I loved as a child and to reading some books that I've always wanted to read. For example, did you know that I've never read a Lemony Snicket book? The horror!
Well, the Little House series is a series that I did read and LOVE as a child, and I was also an avid fan of the TV show. It's been so long since I've read the books that I wanted to start my "classics re-reading adventure" with this series.
Little House in the Big Woods is the first book in the series and told from the third-person limited point of view of five-year old Laura Ingalls. Laura and her family, Ma, Pa, Mary, and baby Carrie, characters who were near and dear to my heart growing up, live in a long cabin on the edge of a Wisconsin forest. The pioneer life is a hard one, and the days are full of difficult and time-consuming chores. However, there is always time at the end of the day for Pa to play his fiddle and to tell Laura and Mary lots of stories, like the time he mistook a tree stump for a bear. However hard the day, it's quickly apparent that what's lacking in luxury is made up in love.
As soon as I picked up the book and started reading, I immediately got the "warm fuzzies," as memories of Laura came flooding back. Believe it or not, I was delighted that I had forgotten so many details of the books, and it really felt like I was reading them for the first time. I was especially interested in Laura's accounts of killing the pig and curing the meat, churning butter, the maple syrup and cheese-making processes, and more descriptions of how pioneers lived and made things.
There were, however, some instances in the book where I thought the details were sparse and didn't provide a clear picture of what was going on. For example, when Ma and Laura encounter the bear outside the barn, I just couldn't figure out where the bear was standing, even after reading the passage over a few times. Or in the cheese-making process, I couldn't understand exactly WHY the rennet from the calf was so crucial to making cheese. Granted, we are getting an account from a five-year old girl's point of view, but other stories are filled with details.
That aside, I do think that this book will appeal to many young children, especially girls, even after all these years. It really is a wholesome, down-to-earth book about love, family, hard work, and a time long ago. I also think it would make a great read aloud for the entire family, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series and watching Laura grow.
What about you? Were you a Little House fan?
- Reading level: Ages 9-12
- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: HarperFestival (October 18, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060797509
- ISBN-13: 978-0060797508
- Source of book: Library