On the Banks of Plum Creek

Book cover: 'On the Banks of Plum Creek'
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Harper Trophy
Little House on the Prairie
Number of pages: 
339 pages
Grade / Age level: 

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!

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