Little House in the Big Woods

Our rating: ***½

Laura Ingalls is a little girl who lives in the Big Woods of Wisconsin with her ma and pa and her sisters, Mary and baby Carrie. Laura has many fun adventures. She gets to go to a dance to celebrate sugaring time, see the new threshing machine, and, best of all, her pa tells stories in the evening.

This is a hard book to summarize because it doesn’t follow a plot line. It’s basically a story about life in the Big Woods in the late 1800’s. Little House in the Big Woods provides a good picture of this time period, as do the other books in the Little House series. Please note that while I marked this book for all ages, and all ages will enjoy it, it is written in a style best suited to younger readers. However, I think that I appreciate it more as an older reader.

By the Shores of Silver Lake

Our rating: ****

When Aunt Docia comes and offers Pa a job further west, Pa accepts. The Ingalls move west and settle down by the shores of Silver Lake. (Thus explaining the title.)

There’s a pretty good amount of stuff happening in By the Shores of Silver Lake. The Ingalls don’t stay at Silver Lake for the entire book. I like By the Shores of Silver Lake. You may pick it up and expect to be bored, but it’s really not very boring! Even though there is a somewhat sad part near the beginning, please read this book.

Farmer Boy

Our rating: ****

This book, the third in the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, tells about Almanzo Wilder’s life while growing up on a farm. Almanzo lives with his father and mother, his brother, Royal, and his two sisters, Eliza Jane and Alice, and between them they have a wonderful time. Including Almanzo’s pig, Lucy, who gets her mouth stuck shut with candy, and Almanzo’s breaking in two calves, Star and Bright. Through all their adventures Almanzo is very taken with one of his father’s horses, a young colt which Almanzo calls Starlight, but his father doesn’t allow him to try to break in Starlight because Almanzo is too young, but Almanzo is determined to grow up enough to have a colt of his very own.

There’s so much fun stuff in this book. It amazes me how many things they had to do in one day! There’s humor galore in this book, one of my favorites being during sheep-shearing time. Please read this book. You don’t want to miss it!

On the Banks of Plum Creek

Our rating: ****

The Ingalls family has moved from Kansas to Minnesota. They live in a house of sod until Pa builds a beautiful wooden house. Unfortunately, the money put into the materials for the house is completely dependent upon their growing wheat crop. When a cloud of millions of huge grasshoppers land, the crops are eaten and destroyed in a matter of days.

The Little House books are a very enjoyable series, and they make good read-alouds. It’s amazing to see how people lived during that time period. On the Banks of Plum Creek always stood out from the others in my mind as a child, and I especially remembered the part when Laura goes wading in the deep mud in the creek, and comes out with leeches (or bloodsuckers) all over her legs. (Yuck!)

Little House on the Prairie

Our rating: ****

Laura, Mary, and their Pa and Ma have left the house in the Big Woods. They have to travel for miles until they get to Indian Territory. There, Pa has to build a house out of logs. This is the story of the exciting adventures the Ingalls family has along the way.

This whole series is good to read. People acted a lot differently in the 1800s. It’s very interesting to see what they did different, what they thought was good manners, and what they thought meant you were rich. I took off a star because small portions are a tad slow, but it’s well worth reading.