Little House on the Prairie Series

About the author

Laura Ingalls Wilder lived in the late 1800's on the frontier of the United States. She wrote a whole series of books about her own childhood in which she chronicles pioneer life. Through the series we are taken from her early childhood (approximately age 5 in Little House in the Big Woods) all the way into early married life (The First Four Years). She is a very gifted story-teller and includes many details of everyday life that are particularly fascinating to us today who are so removed from that lifestyle.

Little House Country, A Photo Guide to the Home Sites of Laura Ingalls Wilder

Book cover: 'Little House Country, A Photo Guide to the Home Sites of Laura Ingalls Wilder'
Author(s): 
William T. Anderson
Illustrator(s): 
Leslie A. Kelly (photography)
ISBN: 
961 008 881
Copyright: 
1989
Publisher: 
Terrell Publishing
Series: 
Little House on the Prairie
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
48 pages
Subject(s): 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

My family and I may never be able to visit the "Little House" country in person, but this photo-filled book makes us feel as if we were there. This is a picture book in the most literal sense of the word! Each of the full-color, professional photographs has a caption of several sentences describing the photograph and some interesting details about the scenes in them.

The photographer traveled through Wisconsin, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, Missouri, and New York to take these pictures. We can see the footbridge over Plum Creek in the summer time and the sun rising over a wintry Silver Lake. We are taken inside Laura's prairie schoolhouse and into the writing study she used as an adult. We are shown a picture of the Ingalls' family Bible with Ma's beautiful handwriting and another of Pa's fiddle. These photographs truly reinforce the idea that the "Little House" books are telling the story of a real family. This book is a "Must Read" for any fan of the series!

Review Date: 
9-3-02
Reviewed by: 

Frost on the Windowpane

Author(s): 
Christine Coley
Margot Davidson
Copyright: 
2002
Publisher: 
Hillside Education
Series: 
Little House on the Prairie
Binding: 
Loose-leaf (binder-ready)
Number of pages: 
50 pages
Subject(s): 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

"Art and Composition Activities for Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder"

This deceptively-simple supplement to Little House in the Big Woods packs a wallop of meaningful content into easy and fun art and writing assignments. Not only will it will help children understand the book better, but it provides full-fledged lessons in art appreciation and composition.

The bulk of this resource consists of "chapter activities" which generally include three segments:

1. "Discussion" - Simple discussion questions are intended to start conversations about the book and invite the child to compare their own life with Laura's life. Discussions such as these are excellent for reading comprehension, thinking skills, etc.

2. "Writing" - Assignments are simple and related to the story, suc as writing about a special gift you have received for Christmas. The unique thing about these assignments is that they each have a corresponding worksheet in the back of the booklet that help the child to collect his thoughts, organize ideas, and in the process learn to become a better writer.

3. "Art" - The simple art projects employ a process called "discipline based art education". Rather than simply assign a drawing based on the story, the child is presented with a famous work of art (such as Van Gogh's Bedroom by Vincent Van Gogh) which provides a good example of an artistic feature that they will use in their assignment. In the case of Van Gogh's Bedroom, the child sees how the artist made the picture three dimensional (simple instructions are included) and replicates that aspect of the painting into their own artwork (in this case a drawing of the attic). What a great way to apply art appreciation to the child's work (reminiscent of the Suzuki method in music). All of the artwork can be viewed online (websites are included) or purchased in postcard form from the publisher.

Rounding out the booklet are...

Activities before Reading, which includes projects about the four seasons and about the geography of Wisconsin

Activities after Reading, which includes instructions for making little books relating to the story, a three-dimensional diorama of a scene from the story, planning an evening "Little House Style", comparing the child's life to Laura's and some simple recipes.

I"m very pleased to recommend this very well-thought-out booklet as a worthwhile, family-friendly resource. Suitable for a wide age range, especially grades one thru five.

Review Date: 
10-08-02
Reviewed by: 

The Little House Cookbook

Book cover: 'The Little House Cookbook'
Author(s): 
Barbara M. Walker
Copyright: 
1979
Publisher: 
HarperCollins Publishers
Series: 
Little House on the Prairie
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
240 pages
Subject(s): 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

For all those of you whose mouths were watering at all the descriptions of food in the Little House Books (particularly Farmer Boy!), Barbara Walker (inspired by the requests of her own children) has done a great deal of research in compiling lots of recipes (over 100) and other background information on the meals from these books.

Review Date: 
3-15-01
Reviewed by: 

Little House in the Big Woods

Book cover: 'Little House in the Big Woods'
Author(s): 
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Copyright: 
1932
Publisher: 
HarperTrophy
Series: 
Little House on the Prairie
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
238 pages
Subject(s): 
Setting: 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

The first in the famous "Little House" series (circa early 1870s), this book tells of Laura's early childhood in rural Wisconsin. A wonderful story in itself about life in a simpler time, Laura explains in fascinating detail many of the tasks necessary to sustain life, prepare for winter, etc. We are introduced to cheese and butter making, the preparing of meats for winter-storage, and much more. Laura, her two sisters and her Ma and Pa live in the midst of a large forest where the closest neighbors are wolves and deer (and an occasional bear). While adults might assume that such a lifestyle would bore children of today, most are fascinated by Pa's stories in front of the fire, the excitement of visiting town and picking out things from the store for the very first time and the glorious dance at Grandpa's to celebrate "sugaring-off". After reading this aloud to the children, my husband is still bugging me to try to make cheese with the kids.

The story is widely enjoyed by children (and adults) of all ages and makes an especially enjoyable read-aloud for the little ones (as early as two or three years old).

Review Date: 
2-15-01
Reviewed by: 

Farmer Boy

Book cover: 'Farmer Boy'
Author(s): 
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Copyright: 
1933
Publisher: 
HarperTrophy
Series: 
Little House on the Prairie
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
372 pages
Subject(s): 
Setting: 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

This mouthwatering book isn't about Laura. It is about her future husband, Almanzo Wilder, and told through his eyes. He works (hard) on his father's sucessful farm in upstate New York. As would be expected from the perspective of a hardworking young boy the book lingers on FOOD. They ate pretty well too! They have fresh fruits and vegatables, they make their own butter (some of which they sell for - about a buck a pound! - imagine that). The pies, the meat etc. etc. etc. Each is described just well enough that you want to make some for yourself. But this was a growing farmer boy - I am afraid his rich diet might not pass muster with the current health nazis - maybe that's why your mouth waters so much. He also tells how he works off all those calories... making tools, shearing sheep, planting and harvesting - all in addition to his daily chores.

Review Date: 
1999
Reviewed by: 

Little House on the Prairie

Author(s): 
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Series: 
Little House on the Prairie
Subject(s): 
Setting: 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

In this story, the Ingalls family ventures out from their cozy log house in Wisconsin to the open prairie of present-day Kansas to make a new start. They spend a very challenging year building a house from scratch and dealing with tensions between other settlers and the local Indians. This is the classic story for which the entire series is named - filled with long journeys over open prairie in a covered wagon, building a log house, and wondering over mysterious Indian trails.

Review Date: 
2-15-01
Reviewed by: 

On the Banks of Plum Creek

Book cover: 'On the Banks of Plum Creek'
Author(s): 
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Copyright: 
1937
Publisher: 
Harper Trophy
Series: 
Little House on the Prairie
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
339 pages
Subject(s): 
Setting: 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

The dog, which has been trotting in the shadow of the wagon for maybe a hundred miles, lays down to rest. The family has just moved from indian territory to western Minnesota. Pa does a little negotiating and ends up trading the horses that helped them move for the sod hut of a Norweigan farmer who is ready to move farther west. So they begin their life at the new home. The delights of childhood liesure are described, not so much reminiscing as the matter-of-fact way that a child who simply enjoyed it would tell. There is plenty to do besides just swim in the creek and make friends with the crab in the creek. Pa forcasts great fortunes for the family when the wheat gets ready to be harvested. But Laura has told us the most enjoyable stories about a family that seems to undergo some of the most trying times you can imagine. They are beset by misfortune again and again - and yet life goes on - life in this family goes on and gets better in ways that are never measured by money or posessions.
I begin to be amazed at this in this book (the second I have read). I am more and more so as the series continues how hard a life they had - and how they deal with the sour turns that are handed to them. Their trials are far beyond what most of us can imagine going through. It is hard to read - knowing that the story is true. And yet the lesson in hope and character is incredibly valuable. The reader will often have a chance to measure his own sufferings and setbacks against those of the Ingalls family - and see how easy he has things!

Review Date: 
1999
Reviewed by: 

By the Shores of Silver Lake

Book cover: 'By the Shores of Silver Lake'
Author(s): 
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Copyright: 
1939
Publisher: 
HarperTrophy
Series: 
Little House on the Prairie
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
290 pages
Subject(s): 
Setting: 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

Continue the adventures of the Ingalls family as they make yet another move, working in a railroad camp, and deal with Mary's recent loss of sight. The reader may discern that Laura begins to develop her story-telling abilities by faithfully following her Pa's request to be Mary's "eyes". The railroad workers move along and the Ingalls family stick it out for one very quiet winter before being present for the establishment of a brand new town.

Review Date: 
2-15-01
Reviewed by: 

The Long Winter

Book cover: 'The Long Winter'
Author(s): 
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Copyright: 
1940
Publisher: 
HarperTrophy
Series: 
Little House on the Prairie
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
334 pages
Subject(s): 
Setting: 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

DeSmet is a well-established town and the Ingalls family owns a homestead outside of town as well as a story on the main street. There are early signs in nature that the winter will be particularly cold and long. The Ingalls decide to move into town for the winter and thus share the fate of their neighbors as one blizzard after another pummels the region from October through May. The trains can't get through with food supplies, school is usually closed and the townspeople run dangerously low on food. Two daring youths (you'll recognize one of them from Farmer Boy) race yet another blizzard to try to find desperately needed food.

Review Date: 
2-15-01
Reviewed by: 

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