Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Publisher: Harper Trophy
Number of pages: 238
This is the first book of the Little House
series which is based on the life of the writer. This first
episode is set in the period before the Ingalls family moved
to the prairie. This is the place of Laura’s birth and the
beginning of her childhood.
Little House in the Big Woods portrays
a little girl with eyes full of wonder and heart full of love
for her Ma and Pa and sister Mary. The theme of this book is
very clear and simple —caring, sharing and growing up during a
time when, even though you are a little girl, you do your part
to help your family. The theme is brought out simply in each
chapter. Laura and Mary had their "chores" each and every day.
They were done —without hesitation or pushing from Ma and Pa
—completely and thoroughly; then and only then would Laura
Little House in the Big Woods is one
adventure after another in Laura’s life. It is a book of vivid
descriptions of first-time happenings for Laura. There’s the
dance at Grandpa’s where Laura watches all the "big girls"
dress up. There is Laura’s first experience at seeing a town,
and of course the fun at butchering time roasting the pig’s
- The story shows the "togetherness" of the Ingalls family
and what little girls did to help their mothers.
- This first episode of the series takes place in
Wisconsin. The second will take place somewhere between
Kansas and Oklahoma (Indian Territory). Later the family
will move to De Smet in Dakota Territory. This is a good
opportunity to integrate literature and geography.
- This wonderful series of books gives a vivid picture of
farming life in the 1870’s.
- The value of the simple things of home life is
emphasized: Ma makes her own cheese and maple sugar, Pa
plays his fiddle and sings to keep the family safe and cozy
when the wind howls through the night.
One of the functions of literature is to
fit the traditions of a nation into stories of lasting beauty.
Laura Ingalls Wilder succeeds very well in discovering the
pioneering spirit of America and enshrining it in her
well-written books. The stories, full of family warmth and
exciting adventures, will appeal to all readers, but more
especially to girls.