Some of my favourite books as a child were the “Little House” books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I wished I was Laura. I played “Little House” endlessly. I re-read them obsessively. When my friend’s grandmother made her a “pioneer girl” dress and sunbonnet I experienced envy for the first time in my life.
As a second-grader, my teacher made me read the entire series to the class, out loud, a chapter a day, for months. I used to sometimes forget where I was and silently read ahead until the other kids would start yelling at me. I have no idea why my teacher thought singling me out like that was a good idea, but if that experience didn’t sour me, nothing would.
Now as a mom, I’ve shared the books with Harry and Ron – and Michael too, who listens as I read aloud. Seeing these books again as an adult brought me whole new levels of insight… not to mention questions. I’ve read through several biographies of Laura, browsed fan websites, and had endless chats on Twitter with other fans about the books. My love for them endures, even though with all the additional knowledge I’ve gained.
The idea came to me of re-capping the books as I read them yet again. I have no idea how long this will keep going – probably as long as people are interested. Be warned: there will be spoilers. Some of the facts behind the mythology have really coloured the experience of reading them, and I’ll try to warn folks when one of those is coming up.
Brew up some bean soup and a cup of tea, twist some hay into sticks, and come along with me on our journey west!
Little House In The Big Woods (you can read the whole book online at this link thanks to the Gutenberg e-Book project)