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Topic: Little House on the Prairie - Share Your Thoughts

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Subject: Little House on the Prairie - Share Your Thoughts
Date Posted: 5/28/2009 11:44 AM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
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I'm reading Little House on the Prairie to my two youngest children. We have just a couple of chapters to go to finish the book. We are loving it and plan to read the next book in the series. I can't believe how much I forgot from my first reading as a child. As a child I identified with Laura but as an adult I am in awe of Ma and Pa. Pa was very talented - building their home, barn, furniture plus hunting, plowing, etc. Ma did everything else and managed everything when Pa was away. I also liked how Wilder described in detail how some things were built or done - it gave the kids an idea of what was involved as well as an appreciation for the work involved. I had completely forgotten about the prairie fire. Ma and Pa were so smart to start a backfire and save their house, barn, and animals as well as their lives!

Share your thoughts or memories about this children's classic.

Date Posted: 5/30/2009 11:20 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
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I enjoyed Little House in the Big Woods and On the Banks of Plum Creek more than the others. I just can't read them now and feel the same though! I loved the younger Laura but now that I'm older I just see their Pa as sorta, um, worthless in a way...I mean, he kept moving the family all over the place because he was 'antsy'. Then Laura has to work doing stuff she doesnt like to support Mary - including a piano or whatever it was for her and school...well life just didn't seem fair for Laura! I wished they'd stayed in the Big Woods - it's my favorite book of all!

But she did seem to have fun, at least when she was little, and the family seemed to care for each other. I remember crying when they couldnt' keep the ponies :-(   I loved horses as a kid! And not knowing you're in Indian territory..shaking my head..that part scared me as a kid and I dont' recall re-reading Little House on the Prairie like I did my favorite 2. I keep meaning to pull these off their special shelf and read them all again but just haven't!

Date Posted: 5/31/2009 10:57 AM ET
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Great thoughts Susanna!

Maybe I should have started with Little House in the Big Woods with the kids. I like that Pa had an adventurous spirit; Caroline wasn't as keen on the moving.

Date Posted: 5/31/2009 7:12 PM ET
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Little House in the Big Woods is the best IMO! They make snow angels and those molasses candies by having a pan of snow and pouring the syrup squiggles on top of the snow to cool...and I think that's the one where they see a 'bear' when they're home alone and Ma starts whacking it with a stick!

Pa had an adventurous spirit but looking at it now I feel he was wrong to marry someone who wanted to be settled and drag her and the family all over the place. It seems like Laura enjoyed the moving part though in a way but in the later books she mentions how Mary was the one who was gonna be the teacher and loved doing the sewing yet Laura's the one teaching in that awful school and does sewing to support the family.

gosh I'm wanting to read these all over again beginnng to end..Farmer Boy doesn't fit in though..and I think Im issed something because it was her hubby's story yet the family was so rich in that one to end up not-so-rich later so it seems like once again she ended up living with a dreamer!

Date Posted: 6/1/2009 8:14 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2008
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I'm currently reading LH in the Big Woods with my 4 1/2 year old! I loved them as a kid, and like Shiela said, I have a different identification with them now. My husband and I have talked about how he moved them all over the country - can you imagine? Crazy, but I do admire his adventurous spirit. I feel for Caroline though. But I guess she didn't have a lot of choice. It's not like she could just stay, you know?

I'm so impressed with the sewing, the baking, how much food they put away for the winter. And they really did grow/kill everything!

I don't remember a lot of detail from the later books -- I think I'm getting it mixed up with the TV show.

Just after starting the books, my son and I were walking through a neighborhood graveyard (it was memorial day) and we saw Michael Landon's grave! Well, not a grave, more of a moselium (sp?). I explained to him that this was the guy who played Pa on the tv show. I'm not sure how impressed he was, but I thought the timing was interesting.

Date Posted: 6/2/2009 10:21 AM ET
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We started Little House in the Big Woods last night. My DD was comparing Mary's "doll" and Laura's "corn cob" and she felt so sorry for Laura!

Have either of you visited any of the Laura Ingalls Wilder homes (Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and Kansas)? One is just a day's drive for us. Might make an interesting weekend trip for the kiddos this summer.

Ann, no I can't imagine moving my family like Pa did.

I love the illustrations in the books we are reading - they are done by Garth Williams.

Date Posted: 6/2/2009 5:54 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
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We've (parents and I) have visited the two in Missouri..forgot the town. It was awesome but the house tours are too fast for me..I wanted to linger(these were the 2 she lived in as an adult). they have a museum that my mom and I could've spent HOURS in but my dad was getting bored plus he timed it both times so we were either there right before lunch or another couple joined us(that he didn't have much choice in!) and actually the lunch issue couldnt' be helped either..it's an all-day thing if you want to look at all the items and read the articles. We managed to pretty  much look at stuf fbut there are lots of newspapeer articles and written items to look over.

seems like Laura gets a real doll later..the one Ma makes her give to Nellie or Nelllie's cousin or something and she drops her in the mud puddle and she steals her back..think that's in On the Banks of Plum Creek...I remember being horrified because I had a doll I was VERY attached to and even now have her on a bed in the guest room...I couldnt' imagine having to give her away!

Date Posted: 6/4/2009 11:33 PM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2006
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Last summer we  listened to several of these books on CD from the library.  We have loved them.  I must say that my kids, especially my older (10 YO) son was partial to Farmer boy!  I hope to listen to the rest of the series this summer!  We stopped during the school year because we had so many school books to read.  Maybe we will start at the beginning again.  They are definately worth reading more than once.

I follow along in the books so we can look at Garth Brooks' illustrations.  They are great.

I think that many of the people who settled the west were like the Ingalls.  Men seem to have a greater desire to move and seek out that adventure!  I am sure that some women did too, but many times I think they went because their men wanted to.  I am thankful that they were willing to endure such hardship.   I don't think I would have made a good pioneer woman.  I have teased the kids aboout going on vacation on a wagon train sometime!  I think it would be cool to try it for a few days.  But, they nix the idea every time I mention it!  Where is their sense of adventure....

Date Posted: 6/5/2009 8:24 AM ET
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Susanna, thanks for the info about your visits to the two places in Missouri.

Carrie - my family and I listen to a lot of audiobooks also. They are great for long car rides. I love the wagon train vacation idea! It would be an adventure.

 

Date Posted: 6/5/2009 2:11 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2008
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I hadn't thought about the audiobooks for this series. We've got some summer trips coming up, I think we'll do that!

I actually think I would have made an excellent pioneer woman! Of course, that's easy to say :)

Date Posted: 6/8/2009 9:52 PM ET
Member Since: 11/23/2008
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not only did I love the little house books, but I went on to read the

caroline  years, the rose years, the martha years - they were all very good, I do not think I can ever part with them.

Date Posted: 6/9/2009 7:34 PM ET
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Marleen were those other books written from diaries or something or were thy sorta 'guessed at'. I know Laura wrote hers as fiction but the events really happened (at least Ithink they did!)

Date Posted: 6/10/2009 8:48 PM ET
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I would probably make a good Pioneer woman . . . all those years of working in my mother's 2 acre garden. When we weren't gardening we were canning, blanching, and preserving everything. My mom was an organic earth mother long before it was popular!

The whole pioneer vacation idea had me thinking. Here is a place where you can do it for a weekend! http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/greetings-from-1886

Date Posted: 6/19/2009 6:40 PM ET
Member Since: 11/23/2008
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susanna, yes they were from diaries and they were very good, written by different authors and I found them at waldenbooks, and books a million. 

Date Posted: 6/19/2009 11:31 PM ET
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thanks Marleen!

Date Posted: 7/24/2009 9:37 AM ET
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Oh, the diaries do sound interesting. Thanks for mentioning them.

Date Posted: 7/28/2009 3:58 PM ET
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Little House on the Prairie: The Musical will be presented Oct 13 tthrough 25 at the Ordway in the Twin Cities.  Tickets went on sale beginning Sunday, July 26.  "Laura", or "Half-Pint", Melissa Gilbert will play the role of "Ma."

The hoopla Sunday afternoon included costumed actors sharing traditional prairie games and demonstrations, story-telling and journal-making, fresh vegetables and cut flowers, prairie plants, button-making, crossword puzzles and coloring activities, free popcorn, lemonade, and live fiddle music (of course!)

The way they have the show schedule set up, there will be matinee and evening performances on Saturdays and Sundays (10/17&18 and 10/24&25.

What kind of singer is Melissa Gilbert?  I dunno . . . .but who else would you want playing Ma in this version of LHOTP?

Date Posted: 7/28/2009 6:40 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
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I think the A.D. Players here in Houston are doing a children's play based on the story in the fall. I'm waiting for the dates/tickets. wish I could see that one though and been there for all the hoopla!

Date Posted: 7/28/2009 6:44 PM ET
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Bonnie, that would be a great performance to attend!

I found a book at a garage sale this weekend titled, West from Home: Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder, San Francisco, 1915.

"It is like a fairyland." So Laura Ingalls Wilder described her 1915 voyage to San Francisco to visit her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane. Laura's husband, Almanzo, was unable to leave their Missouri farm and it is her faithful letters home, vividly describing every detail of her journey, that have been gathered here. Includes 24 pages of exciting photographs.

I've read just a few pages but found it interesting that Laura was called "Bessie" within her family to avoid confusion with her SIL, also named Laura. Laura's middle name was Elizabeth. Also, she addresses letters to her husband as "Manly Dear" - his name was Almanzo. After Laura's death in 1957, her daughter Rose, in her grief sifted through her mother's papers and tossed into cartons those things she thought she might want to look at later. She was never able to bring herself to do so. Then, after Rose died in 1968, her friend and executor found the letters and arranged for their publication. The letters were written in soft pencil - Laura was always frugal and used inexpensive and unlined paper which would not take ink.

Date Posted: 7/30/2009 3:39 AM ET
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That sounds like a good one!

Date Posted: 7/31/2009 8:26 PM ET
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Sheila: You made me remember how, as  grade school pupils in the 1930s, my classmates and I wrote with soft pencils on the sheets of foolscap paper in our "Big Chief" tablets.  And attention was paid to penmanship......".make your "s's" like little sailboats", the teacher would say.  Those days were so long ago  that it makes me feel like I'm about 300 years old!

I just watched the DVD of an excellent British film treatment of Anthony Trollope's novel about what the lust for money did to the English, The Way We Live Now.  It was set in the same time period as the Little House books,. around 1870.  The novel was first published in 1875.  The Old Man and I sat here and marveled at all the parallels between Then and Now, especially at how Augustus Melmotte, the fictional financier,  and the real- life money-manipulator, Bernie Madoff,  were two of a kind!  Whenever a story is set in that time period, I always think of how my maternal grandmother was born "out in Wisconsin, near what is now Osh Kosh, in Winnebago County" in 1871.  She died in 1957, just as Laura did.

 



Last Edited on: 7/31/09 8:28 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/4/2009 12:03 PM ET
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Bonnie, I've been wanting to read Trollope - thanks for the info on the film. When I read War and Peace I often thought about the time period and what was happening in the US while the Napoleonic Wars were going on.

I haven't had time to read any more of my book of letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder . . . hoping to read more when we go on vacation later this month.

Tomorrow, I'm picking up the audiobook of Farmer Boy from the library to listen to in the car with the kids while we are driving to our vacation destination.

Date Posted: 8/18/2009 2:02 PM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2008
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My favorite, besides Big Woods, was Farmer Boy. I loved how it told about farm life in detail, like training Star and Bright, the Oxen, about weaving cloth and shearing sheep, about making taffy while "keeping house (poor Lucy the pig who got her snout stuck shut with it!) and all the other adventures. And I especially loved how Almanzo got to have Starlight for his own since I was a horse mad little girl and could compeltely understand his longing!

Date Posted: 8/22/2009 6:36 PM ET
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Farmer Boy was soooo good! All five of us loved it. What I really like about Laura Ingalls Wilder books is how detailed she gets about how things are done. My kids liked this one the best so far. Farmer Boy really illustrates how much work and reward there can be on a farm.

Rebecca - I agree about the training of the oxen - so interesting! I loved how Almanzo got Starlight also and that he was interested in staying on the farm. He loved the work. I really liked the money lesson his father taught him also. Almanzo wanted 5 cents for a glass of lemonade. His father helped him figure out how much work was involved in earning 50 cents then compared a glass of lemonade for 5 cents or Almanzo could buy a suckling pig for 50 cents. He chose the pig which became Lucy that Rebecca wrote about above. It was a great lesson about not squandering your money on things you don't need :-)

 

Date Posted: 8/24/2009 12:25 AM ET
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I liked Farmer Boy but mainly because they weren't starving in that one! my absolute fave is still Little House in the Big Woods! they never should've moved!

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