Monday, September 7, 2015

Little House: The Laura Years

You couldn't have used one of your 70 drafts, you had to start a whooole new post! Wow Ashley wow.... (Yeah, I have 70 drafts, some are just small lists, some are fleshed out, none are completely ready...)
Left to Right: Carrie, Mary, Laura
Laura looks exactly like my cousin Breanna!
Anywho, yes, I finished the Laura series this summer!! Yay!! Only one girl more to go, and hopefully my library has them all!

I gave all the Laura books five stars except for The First Four Years, but guys, that was a rough draft so it doesn't count. (Yes, I am fully aware that like only one guy reads this, but I can say what I want.) Overall, I loved it. Some were better than I remembered, some were worse. Some I read for the first time, although I had skimmed them soooo many times. Some were a multiple-times reread. Let's get started! And yes, I read the books with the fabric covers, and I love them, but everyone has seen them, so here's some different ones!
First edition cover!
Little House in the Big WoodsI sort of have this book memorized, but it's cool to find little gems I've missed in past readings! I enjoyed coming into this knowing more of Caroline's background. I recognized lots of names of the aunts and uncles! I really enjoyed finding those throughout the series and thinking "Aunt Docia, that's Charles's sister and didn't she marry Caroline's brother?" Also, the descriptions are amazing! And the pictures ARE what make Little House! So yeah, still a classic!

Also, the obedience of Laura and Mary really stuck out to me this time around! At least one time, it may have saved their life! And Pa spanked the girls!! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Why doesn't everybody do that! (That's the rant of a Jr. Church worker who has spent a lot of classroom time disciplining kids because parents don't...)

First edition cover!
Little House on the Prairie: I enjoyed seeing the neighborly spirit prevalent on the prairie. And watching Mary and Laura grow up is enchanting! (Yes, enchanting!) You could really see how much the Ingalls loved their daughters and wanted to do what was best for them. 

The Indian drums and war cry were still as terrifying as when I was little! Wow! That will make your hair stand on end! 

But the ending! I'm not sure if I ever read it. I never knew exactly why they had to move on! It's so sad! They were 3 miles over the border! And those last pages where the girls look out of the wagon at the house! It makes me sad just thinking about it!

Farmer Boy: I've read this book a lot, but it never seems to lose its charm. There's always new facets to the story each time I read it! I especially noticed this time how kind and loving Father is! For some reason, I had this evil step-father image in my head, but he's not! He doesn't "spare the rod", but he isn't unnecessarily harsh. I also noticed the fact that at the end, Mother didn't want Almanzo to choose his own career. But Father was knew that it was Almanzo's life and his choice! I don't really know what I think about Mrs. Wilder. Especially knowing about her in These Happy Golden Years. 

I love how LIW takes us through one whole year on the farm, showing what was done every season! And Eliza Jane gets on my nerves, but at least she fixed the wall!

On the Banks of Plum Creek: I'm pretty sure that I read this when I was younger, but some parts of it were a little foggy. 

This is sort of an idyllic childhood book. Laura and Mary grow up by Plum Creek in Minnesota. They do fun things like go swimming and go to church. And the Christmas tree! These books are making me realize the generosity of the settlers!

 I found it interesting that it didn't snow that much during the grasshopper weather. I always thought Minnesota was called Minnesnowta!  for a reason!

Parts of this book are depressing, such as the grasshoppers and Pa's leaving, but I loved Ma and Pa's attitude. Pa keeps looking ahead and does anything he has to do to keep the family fed. Ma, no matter what her inward thoughts might be, still supports Pa, even in the hard times! Although I see where Ma is coming from in wanting her children to be in a civilized place, I empathize with Pa and Laura in wanting to move on. Not that I want to move on constantly, but I think that would be fun for them. 

By the Shores of Silver Lake: Why oh why do we skip like three years?! *sigh* The timing is the biggest problem with the end of this series. (Not that there's lots of problems!)

I love that Laura finds a friend in her cousin. Up until now, there's not really any mention of good friendships she has. And I love the descriptions of the prairie! It's amazing how fast it springs up! And Mr. Edwards comes back! I love how he helps Pa get the claim! 

And the night they go sliding on the ice!!! Obviously, I love LIW's descriptions of big open spaces.

Fun fact: I first heard about whatnots in this book. I was so excited when I realized that my gradmother has one! (Well, the shelves aren't graduated, but close enough!)

The Long Winter: Wow! LIW makes you feel in this book! You feel the cold, the hardness, the sameness, and the pain that she felt! It's amazing! I would hate to have to live through a winter like that! And Pa! He did so much to help the family! He's a great example of what a man should be! I also liked the look at schooling that we get in this and the next two books. That's something that has always interested me. 

And Almanzo and Cap!!! Bravo! You did what needed to be done! They make me so happy! And then when Pa comes in and takes Almanzo's wheat. Hahahaha! Smart Pa! 

Little Town on the Prairie: I love how we get to see the "normal" things the Ingalls do. I have a little bit of a problem with how fast the book moves. I was confused about Laura's age most of the time. But overall, I just love it to pieces! 

And then when Almanzo just appears at the revival!! Speaking of the revival, this reminded me of the revival in the Caroline books that scared Caroline so badly. I also loved the literaries and socials and all the events! I sympathized with Laura both in her being bored of studying and in feeling guilty for not spending enough time studying! It's such a hard balance... 

And Nellie is horrible and I want to slap her for most of the book and just no. And sure, Ma's right, you shouldn't be mean. But sometimes people don't understand any other language but mean! ARGHHH! 

But to end this review on a positive note, I loved the part when the two drunk guys were walking and kicking the screen doors. It made me laugh! *feels Ma's disapproving stare* And I love that Laura has friends like Mary, Minnie, and Ida! They're all so nice!

And I think this is the book where Laura has her revelation about liberty and the constitution and all! It's great guys!
This is what it means to be free. It means, you have to be good. "Our father's God, author of liberty--" The laws of Nature and of Nature's God endow you with a right to life and libertyy. Then you have to keep the laws of God, for God's law is the only thing that gives you the right to be free.

These Happy Golden Years: This may have been my favorite book in the series. I went into it with low expectations (I think it bored 9-year-old me) but, man, was it great! Almanzo is such a gentleman! He comes to get her even when there's nothing in it for him! And the sleigh rides and buggy rides!! *happy squeal* And that buggy ride with Nellie :D Sometimes their courtship seemed awkward, especially because of the age difference, but overall it was sweet and they were such great friends! 

I love how Laura is earning money to help her family!! Although, I'm pretty sure even if I hadn't complained about the meanness of Mrs. Brewster, her attempting to kill her husband would have gotten me out of there reaaal quick! 

I also loved the horses! No one could handle them except Manly and then Laura comes along and just yessss!

I don't think this one was published like the others...

The First Four Years: So it was okay. Definitely not up to par with the other books. But I'm not complaining because the prologue said it was the first draft, and it was waaaay better than any first draft of mine! But it was sad and sort of depressing. I did like how she threw in happy things like Peter (I was actually really confused about him) and Rose and the pantry! I felt soooo bad for them! And then the end!!!! But she did end it on a positive note, so that was nice. I probably won't read this again. Ever. I like the other ones too much to let this one affect my opinion of the series as a whole. Plus some people don't even consider this a part of the series! So that's why I gave it three stars. If Laura had revised it and such, it probably would have been right up there at 5 with the others! BTW, I loved the prologue and the look it gave at Rose!

Overall, I loved this series oh so much! I've loved Laura since I was in first grade. In fact, my first grade teacher and I got the same present for Christmas: a treasure of the first three stories. (I actually donated it to my school because I have the first three separate books now) I remember loving it! And I have a Little House rag doll kit somewhere in the garage, and probably little kids books of it! Coming into the Classics Club, I wasn't too thrilled about rereading these, but I'm oh so glad I did! And I highly, highly, highly recommend them!!

Below, you can see the Crafts Sack and a creepy rag doll I made. I'm almost positive that a book came with the set, but I didn't see it :( Do you have any "extra" Little House stuff? What's your favorite Little House book? 


  1. Looong comment a-comin'.


    SERIOUSLY?!! Seventy drafts! My word! (I had about ten once, but then I deleted about seven. I like my dashboard very organised. :-D)

    So. Docia did not marry Caroline's brother - but there were three Quiner-Ingalls marriages. Caroline's brother Henry married Charles' sister Polly, and Caroline's sister Elisa married Charles' brother Peter. It's so cool. :-) (And remember in the Caroline books that Docia was that little girl who won the Maths competition?! And here she's all grown up and dancing. *Sniff*)

    Yes, haha. At least Eliza Jane fixed the wall. :-D

    Oh, didn't Farmer Boy make you HUNGRY? It's the book that makes me the most hungry. Seriously, it's SO CHOCK FILLED WITH FOOD. :-D

    I know, there's a big gap between 'On the Banks of Plum Creek' and 'The Shores of Silver Lane' - Laura also seems SO much older all of a sudden. Laura Ingalls DID write a short expert on the years in between and someone took those ten pages and made it into a book. It's called 'Old Town in the Green Groves.' It's not amazing (also, because it's not directly Laura Ingalls) but it's very good and I would recommend it so that you understand what happened. I think those years must have been very hard ones for Laura - she got a brother who died after a year, they had to move and earn money, they finally got Grace, and then Mary got blind. Maybe she didn't want to write about those years in detail. ('The old town in the Green Groves' doesn't include the Mary-getting-blind-bit, though.)

    Your Grandma has a whatnot! I've always wanted to make one after reading Little House! I LOVE Mr and Mrs Brown. They're SO much fun. :-D Mr Brown's LAUGH!! :-) (Is their name Brown? I forgot.)

    Yeah, I love it when Pa goes and takes Manly's wheat. :-P


    I'm not crazy about the first four years either. :-/ It was okay though. Have you read Laura's journal on her trip with Almanzo and Rose to Missouri? That got included in my series! It even calls itself the tenth book! :-) (But it's normally not included as a tenth book, so don't worry. :-))

    That's a cute rag doll! You have some talent. :-D

    I have several other extra Little House books - the Little House Cookbook, the Sewing and Crafts Little House book, the Little House guidebook and a LOVELY book filled with pictures and information about the Ingalls' and Laura called 'Laura's Album.' Yeah, I LOVE THESE BOOKS.

    Great post!!

    ~ Naomi

  2. It's been forever since I last read the little house books. They bring back so many nostalgic feelings. I remember my mom reading them to all of us when we were little, and dressing up as the Ingalls family with my sisters and baby brother (who, unfortunately, was forced to play baby Grace, since they didn't have and brothers in Little House on the Prairie XD ). This was a great review. I definitely want to reread all of these now!

  3. Naomi: I reallllly need to clean out my drafts! Oh yeah! Thanks for the Ingalls/Quiner info! Farmer Boy has soooo much food! But later Almanzo is described as skinny (or at least the pictures show that)! I've seen Green Groves, but I didn't think it was "legit" so I didn't really look into it. I will now though! I think their name's Boast, but yes, they are sooo much fun! I think Little Town and Golden Years are my favorites too! I have at least skimmed Laura's journal. It should be coming in to my library any day now! That's cool that it's the tenth book! Hahaha my second-grade self thanks you! I need to check into these extra books again! My love for Little House has definitely been rekindled! Thanks!

    Hannah: Hahah we used to dress up too! Thanks!

  4. OK, this is my second time commenting. I don't know what happened!

    I was saying that I had started to post a comment last Tuesday when a crisis occurred at my house and I needed to abandon my writing. I had wanted to return b/c I was so excited to see that someone else read the Little House books over the summer, too.

    So, first of all, I agree with your opinion of Pa: "He is an example of how a man is supposed to be." He was always responsible for his family and a hard worker. Manny has similar traits, and maybe that is why Laura married him. (However, both Pa and Manny took more risks than I would have desired to live with.) And I thought Manny going out to get the wheat in The Long Winter was outrageous. He had enough in his wall to save the whole town, and God would have provided for him in some other way for that spring.

    Then I love that liberty passage. It is my favorite from that book, and probably from the entire series. I love Laura's thought process that we are accountable to God, and that is what makes us free - that is what makes America free b/c its citizens are not beholden to an earthly KIng.

    The last book of the series is more difficult b/c it was not edited. It is more serious in tone. Laura worries about the finances a lot, and you can understand why she never wanted to be a farmer's wife.

    There are a lot of teachable moments in this series, and I know I'll reread them again another year.

    Well, I hope I didn't forget anything, but I'll resend this one and see what happens.

  5. I Have A Whatnot Shelf :-D

    And for years I thought it was just something my parents bought when they were first married, but I learned recently that it actually belonged to my great-grandfather, so now I feel a little bad that it got nicked up the last time we moved. And that our fish tank is on it. The rest of it is filled with cookbooks and recipe boxes.

    Anyway, I really love these books, and have read/heard them over and over and over. Now I'm gradually reading them aloud to my kids and husband, and loving them even more!


Many comments. Such wow. Much happiness. Very awesomeness. I know that's not entirely correct grammar, but that's how comments make me feel! Feel free to leave one expressing anything from what color shoes you're wearing to how much you disagree with my opinion :D