Friday, December 5, 2014
My Reread of the Little House books part 1
A few weeks ago I posted about how I was taking a class on Laura Ingalls Wilder's early works (see the post here). The class has ended and I have finished my re-read of the first four 'Little House' books. I have read each of these books countless times but this was the first time I have read them as an adult.
I loved reading these stories again. The illustrations are beautiful and each book is as wonderful as I remember it being. I've been trying to come up with a favorite of these four and I just can't. I do really lean toward Little House on the Prairie because I love the descriptions of the family setting up their homestead but I don't think I could choose a true favorite of these four. Farmer Boy was a little less fun to read because the edition I read didn't have any illustrations in it; Garth Williams illustrations help make these books great so I was really bummed to realize that the copy of Farmer Boy I got from the library didn't have any.
It was strange to read these books as an adult because I noticed things that I wouldn't have noticed as a child. On the Banks of Plum Creek has a lot of fun little stories that help make up the book as a whole but it also shows how poor the family was, how much they were relying on their wheat crop and how devastating it was when they lost it. There were a couple of scenes where I cringed as I watched Pa Ingalls go on about how they could afford everything when they wheat was sold and seeing him buy a lot on credit because they could easily pay for it with their wheat crop. Knowing how the story ended just broke my heart and showed me how precarious the family's situation really was.
I was also shocked by just how hard the Ingalls family worked. They had a home set up in Wisconsin, left it and went to Kansas, built a functioning home there, left and built a new one in Minnesota. The amount of work that went into building a home and maintaining it was astronomical and then to have to start over and over must have just been overwhelming at times.
Farmer Boy is a little different than the other three books as it focuses on Laura's husband, Almanzo's, childhood. I love this book because of the descriptions of the food. Oh my goodness, I want to live at Almanzo's house in this book because it is non-stop delicious food (at least that is the way it is portrayed in the book). Almanzo's family was much better off financially than Laura's and it is pretty obvious. That's not to say that the Wilder's didn't work as hard as the Ingalls, they just had more luxuries and a lot better food.
Overall, I had so much fun with this re-read and I really look forward to reading these with Julia when she's older. The second half of the course starts in April and I can't wait to re-read the rest of the series!