Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Little House on the Prairie - Laura Ingalls Wilder

Title:  Little House on the Prairie
Author:  Laura Ingalls Wilder
Pages:  335
Genre:  Fiction, YA
Source:  My bookshelf
What you'll love:  Once again, a wonderful illustration of the time period and location.
What will bug you:  The interactions with the Native Americans.

As a kid, I remember not liking this one as much as Little House in the Big Woods.  I think it was because of the setting.  I have to say, this time around, I really enjoyed it.  

It's amazing to me that this family was able to pack all their things in a covered wagon and head out into the wilderness to create a new home.  I don't go to new places without a GPS.  As an adult, it's so interesting to imagine leaving home with no firm idea of final destination.  It makes you realize how reliant we are on our 21st century amenities.

I enjoyed reading about the trip to the prairie.  When I was a little girl, I used to pretend that my bed was a bed in the covered wagon.  I didn't do that this time around, but it was still fun to read about the trip.  I was impressed with Ma navigating the wagon through the creek waters.  She showed her strength in this book.

Pa is amazing.  No door?  No problem.  He'll just build one without nails.  It's just a small matter of fitting wooden pegs to hold it together.  Most people just can't do stuff like that anymore.

Many details went completely over my head as a child, and I appreciate them now.  For example, the fact that when the family was sick with fever'n'ague, they actually had malaria.  I'm not surprised, especially if they had been down by the creek - if there were patches of standing water the mosquitoes must have been ridiculous.  Also, when Pa and Mr. Scott dug the well, I remember being afraid and not really understanding why Mr. Scott had been in such danger.  Of course it makes sense that they should be testing the oxygen levels first.

The only thing that got me slightly irritated is the treatment and attitude toward the Native Americans.  Of course, I understand that at the time, things were very different.  I'm analyzing through my 21st century lens again.  I'm sure the many of the pioneers were terrified of the Native Americans - especially after hearing some of the stories I'm sure were circulating at the time.  The language barrier would be hard enough, but there was so much to make them seem so incredibly different - I'm sure it was a shock.  It really bothers me that the government just pushed these people out of their land really makes me angry.  The arrogance behind it is staggering.  Once again, I'm aware that Laura Ingalls Wilder was living in a very different time, but it was still hard to not feel irritated when I read some of those passages.  


A wonderful story.  I'm so glad to be re-reading these!

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