The promise of a new life on the Western frontier beckons Laura Ingalls and her family as they make the long journey across unsettled territory. The vast Kansas prairie is beautiful, but holds hidden dangers as well. The Osage Indians want the settlers to leave the land, and the wild wolves and hungry panthers threaten the Ingalls family. Faced with danger and uncertainty, Laura’s family must decide if the pioneer life is right for them.
Written in 1935 and now re-issued, this second of the nine critically-acclaimed and immensely popular ‘Little House’ novels is probably the one best known and loved. It deserves its reputation as a classic of children’s literature. Wilder tells how she, Laura, and her family (Pa, Ma, sister Mary and baby Carrie) journeyed in a covered wagon from Wisconsin to the immense rolling prairie of Kansas. We marvel at her father’s energy, ingenuity, and boundless optimism as he drives them across the frozen Mississippi and constructs a house and farm almost single-handedly. We admire mother Caroline’s quiet courage and determination as she overcomes her misgivings to nurture her family. Laura’s independence, curiosity, and sheer joy of living reach us quite clearly in the simple but eloquent prose. Wilder has opened a window into the past and we look through it with the eyes of an observant child at perils (wolves, raging creeks, malaria) and joys (unexpected Christmas presents, a rocking chair, the music of Pa’s fiddle). An ever-present reality is the relationship between the settlers and the hostile Osage Indians. It is instructive to overhear the comments of various white neighbors, ranging from fear and dislike of the native inhabitants to the brutal desire for their extermination. Even Laura’s wise and tolerant father believes that when the white settlers come, the Indians must move on. The immediacy of this story makes it especially valuable both as history and as an engrossing tale of the pioneer life and spirit. 2003 (orig. 1935), Avon, Talcroft
As a consummate fan of Laura Ingles Wilder’s wonderful series of books, I am reluctant to endorse their being dissected and repackaged. However, this publication is possibly expanding her audience to a younger crowd, and it is very well done. As a picture book, the illustrations play a much greater role than they do in the originals. Inspired by Garth Williams, the artist for the original series, the illustrator has mimicked his style beautifully. We feel right at home with these images. Laura, Ma, Pa, Mary and Carrie are searching for a place to build a house. They are travel across the plains in a covered wagon until they find a good spot, and then a house is built. There is even a new friend who helps with the construction. 1998 (orig.
Gr 3-6-Laura Ingalls Wilder fans will rejoice at the fine presentation of her novels in audio format. Cherry Jones brings to life Pa, Ma, Laura, and all the other characters. Performed at the right tempo for the intended audience, Jones changes her voice just enough for each character so they can easily be distinguished. Singing period songs as Pa, exclaiming with delight over some new discovery as Laura, or gently scolding as Ma, Jones keeps listeners entranced. Pa’s fiddle music, performed by Paul Woodiel, enhances the presentation. As with the print versions, putting the books’ content into the context of events which happened over 100 years ago will help intermediate students understand why a song about ‘darkeys’ would be included (Little House in the Big Woods), and why certain attitudes toward minorities, particularly Native Americans, are acceptable to the characters in the books.-.Judy Czarnecki, Chippewa River District Library System, Mt. Pleasant, MI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.