When I was five years old, my mother read Farmer Boy aloud to my brothers and I. The chapter that sticks out the most in my memory is when Almanzo and his siblings are left alone for the week to mind the house and farm on their own. They use up almost all of the sugar making and eating sweets, and Eliza Jane has to repair the parlor wallpaper from where the blacking brush hit the wall after Almanzo threw it.
A couple of years later, I borrowed Little House in the Big Woods from the Wanamaker Branch of the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library. I remember really enjoying it, and then borrowed Little House on the Prairie. I was reading ahead of where they had me in reading group in elementary school. (My fourth grade teacher finally recognized that I could read very well, and moved me up to where I should be – in the highest reading group. It was just previously – in first grade – I was so shy and nervous that sometimes my speaking/reading aloud was not great, but it was just nerves! Same in second and third grades. . . even though I was reading chapter books on my own silently just fine.) In fact, I usually read the entire reading text books at the beginning of the school year, and it was pretty borrowing the remainder of the time.
Anyway, I digress.
I think steadily read the whole little house series so that by the summer I was nine I was re-reading the whole series. I had my favorite titles. I have shared one or two of my favorites in the past on this blog. I still think Little Town on the Prairie was and is one of my absolute favorites of the series. I loved seeing Laura growing up and having some fun with friends and family. This book also is not quite as bleak as some of the others. As an adult, I think I appreciate the later books in the series as well because apparently Rose (Wilder Lane) may not have done quite as much work on them. Rose did a great job shaping the books, etc, but according to Pamela Smith Hill, author of Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer’s Life, Rose simply did not have the time or energy to put quite as much time into re-writing her mother’s stories later on as she did with the first books in the series.
I have more to say about the books, and also about my visits to a couple of the home sites over the years, but I will tackle those things in a future post!