Sunday, May 6, 2018

~ MMGM Little House in the Big Woods ~

-- 'Little House in the Big Woods'
Little House Book One --
Written by:  Laura Ingalls Wilder
Illustrated by:  Garth Williams

ABOUT THE AUTHOR {from Goodreads}:

Based on the real-life adventures of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House in the Big Woods is the first book in the award-winning Little House series, which has captivated generations of readers. This edition features the classic black-and-white artwork from Garth Williams.
Little House in the Big Woods takes place in 1871 and introduces us to four-year-old Laura, who lives in a log cabin on the edge of the Big Woods of Wisconsin. She shares the cabin with her Pa, her Ma, her sisters Mary and Carrie, and their lovable dog, Jack.

Pioneer life isn’t easy for the Ingalls family, since they must grow or catch all their own food as they get ready for the cold winter. But they make the best of every tough situation. They celebrate Christmas with homemade toys and treats, do their spring planting, bring in the harvest in the fall, and make their first trip into town. And every night, safe and warm in their little house, the sound of Pa’s fiddle lulls Laura and her sisters into sleep.

The nine books in the timeless Little House series tell the story of Laura’s real childhood as an American pioneer, and are cherished by readers of all generations. They offer a unique glimpse into life on the American frontier, and tell the heartwarming, unforgettable story of a loving family.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR {from Goodreads}:

Ingalls wrote a series of historical fiction books for children based on her childhood growing up in a pioneer family. She also wrote a regular newspaper column and kept a diary as an adult moving from South Dakota to Missouri, the latter of which has been published as a book.


Generations of children picture their favorite fictional characters as drawn by Garth Williams. Thus the unforgettable dapper mouse, Stuart Little, or the kindhearted spider, Charlotte and her pig friend, Wilbur. And many other animals (bears, dogs, kittens, crickets) fantastic creatures (elves, fairies) and children and grown-ups in books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, George Selden, Charlotte Zolotow, Else H. Minarik and many others. Garth Williams was also the writer of seven children's books, like Baby Farm Animals, but it is primarily as an illustrator that he will always be remembered.

When I was a middle-grade student several decades ago, the 'Little House' books were probably my favorite series. I devoured each installment, though I doubt I read them in any particular order.
As I have mentioned previously, I love history; and I especially love post-Civil War American history. Living in California since I was six years old has instilled in me an appreciation for the pioneer spirit. I believe these books by Laura Ingalls Wilder were perhaps my first exposure to historical fiction depicting this era.

I vividly remember this book because it is the book in the series where Laura shares her vivid recollection of their first Christmas in the Big Woods of Wisconsin. In this book Laura's mother, Caroline Ingalls, makes Laura a ragdoll for a Christmas gift. The doll is sentimentally named Charlotte after Laura's maternal grandmother. The illustrator, Garth Williams, included Charlotte on the cover art for this book. You can see Laura gazing adoringly at her new doll as her family looks on from the background.

As a young girl I adored my dolls, and as a sewing designer I had the pleasure of having one of my original design rag dolls published a few years ago in a magazine headquartered in the United Kingdom. I enjoy stitching up cloth dolls and their clothes and dolls quilts for the local women's and children's shelter whenever I have time, so this chapter in the book has special meaning to me.

This book carefully describes each and every detail about the doll's features and how Laura's mother made it. She used pokeberry to draw the mouth, buttons for the eyes, black yarn for the hair, and calico fabric for the dress.

Another thing I remember about these books is that our school librarian, Mrs. MacSwain, had a neat program where she allowed readers to draw a new book cover for a book they had read. The student would write their own book blurb {a sort of brief book report} and author bio on the inner flaps. 

Mrs. MacSwain would then replace the original dust jacket with the student's cover, carefully enclosed in a crisp new cellophane dust cover. It was an honor to be chosen for this task, and as a voracious reader it was exciting to see my book covers scattered throughout the library.

Now I view my blog as a journal of my book reports, and I still enjoy sharing the good news with other book lovers!

I recently reread all of the books in this series, and as an adult I was just as fascinated with the lives of Laura and her family as I was way back in my middle-grade years.

Did you read any series back in your middle-grade years that you have since reread as an adult? If yes, which series and author?

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

-- Tuesday, May 8th: I Am A Reader Release Day Blast for 'Dating the Prince' by Alina Snow. Post includes a $50 giveaway.

-- Friday, May 11th: Friday Fiction Feature on 'The Spirit of Christmas'. Post includes a Book Spotlight and Snippet. Hosted by SLB Tours.

-- Saturday, May 12th: Cover Reveal for 'The Whispering Winds of Spring'. Hosted by SLB Tours.

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  1. Glad you liked this series so much as a kid. Not sure how I never read it. My favorite was The Boxcar Kids series.

    1. Hello Natalie ~ It's nice to hear from another 'Boxcar Children' fan! A few summers ago I reread several of the Boxcar books, and they were just as fun as when I was a middle-grade student. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Best, June

  2. I had one sister really into this series and many female students also adore their charm. I was never much of a series guy growing up (except for a little Hardy Boys). I did try and read stories from the same author like Paula Danzinger and Gordon Korman.

    1. Hi, Greg ~ Isn't it amazing the allure these historic tales hold for the children of the 21st century? I'm going to look up Paula Danzinger and Gordon Korman as I've never read any of their works. I appreciate your posting your thoughts here. Regards, June

  3. I never did read the Ingall series of books. I read all of the Hardy Boys and Anne of Green Gables and Lewis Carroll, but never about the house on the prairie. I should probably do that just to round out my middle-grade experience.

  4. Welcome back! I love the Anne of Green Gables series, too. I need to add them to my TBR list. I recently read one of the Hardy Boys books and really enjoyed it. Do you think middle-graders think it's funny or strange that we full-fledged adults want to read or reread books in their age group? Looking forward to hosting you on my blog next Monday, May 14th! Can't wait to share your new release with my readers. Take care, June

  5. I loved this series as a child! My imagination soared with her stories. I remember doing shadow boxes of certain scenes as a kid. Funny, Laura reminds you a bit of Melissa Gilbert who played her in the TV series.

    1. Hi, Patricia ~ Shadow boxes sound like fun projects for these books. I also felt they did a great job of casting Melissa Gilbert as Laura on the television series. Thanks for posting your memories here. Best, June

  6. I read every one as a child -- more than one time. When I was an adult, I read them all again and was not disappointed. My daughters read and loved them as well. My granddaughter -- not so much. Ah, well. If we all loved the same things it would be a dull world. Thank for the post.

    1. Hello, Rosi ~ I chuckled when I read your comment about if we all loved the same things we would have a dull world. That is so true! You're welcome for the post, and I hope your granddaughter finds loads of good reads that are right up her alley. Sincerely, June