Little House in the Big Woods

February 22, 2012 Whitney Review 9 Comments

Little House in the Big WoodsLittle House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Series: Little House #1
Published by HarperCollins on May 11, 2004
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 238
Source: Bought

The book that started it all! Little House in the Big Woods is the first book in Laura Ingalls Wilder's treasured Little House series, which was based on her life growing up as an American pioneer. This edition features Garth Williams' interior art in vibrant full color.

Told from four-year-old Laura's point of view, this story begins in 1871 in a little log cabin on the edge of the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Laura lives in the little house with her Pa, her Ma, her sisters Mary and Carrie, and their trusty dog, Jack.

Pioneer life is sometimes hard for the family, since they must grow or catch all their own food as they get ready for the cold winter. But it is also exciting as Laura and her family celebrate Christmas with homemade toys and treats, do the spring planting, bring in the harvest, and make their first trip into town. And every night they are safe and warm in their little house, with the happy sound of Pa's fiddle sending Laura and her sisters off to sleep.


I first read the Little House books when I was seven and became a main staple on my bookshelf until I was thirteen,reading them (particularly this one) from cover to cover until they had to be thrown away; but I could recite them from heart anyway… In elementary school we practiced in the D.E.A.R. program (Drop Everything And Read) silently reading each morning for 15 minutes. I can remember finishing Little House in the Big Woods during that time period and after reading the copy-write page would start all over again.

Her life as a youngster was educational without even realizing it. (churning butter, making bullets, or the process of a horse powered machine are a few examples)

But the wonderful thing about these stories is the Laura Ingalls is relatable. Despite taking place in the 1860s, I was excited as she was about receiving her rag doll Charlotte as I was upon getting my first American Girl doll for Christmas, she envies her elder sister Mary’s golden curls, and plays house under a tree, which was also a favorite pastime of mine growing up as was the Little House books. With or without knowing it Laura Ingalls Wilder’s childhood became part of my own.


9 responses to “Little House in the Big Woods

  1. Just seeing the cover of the book brings back wonderful memories of reading this book with my daughter when she was little. We both enjoyed the book a lot.

    • That's so sweet! The is something nostalgic about the Little House books (Big Woods in particular) It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

  2. I like them as well, but despite all the nuggets of information they are really fiction. Laura Wilder based them on her life, but she didn't hesitate to move stuff around to make the story better, and her daughter Rose also looked at them more as story then as absolute truth.

    It makes history real to me when I realize that I was alive when Laura's daughter was alive. I wish I had known that when I was a kid. (I'm probably much older than you, though!)

  3. Whoops, you're right I meant to put fictionalized account. Laura Ingalls Wilder has done a fabulous job of blending the two together and when I was younger found it hard to decipher fact from fiction.

  4. I loved these books when I was a kid. Then, a year or two ago, I started reading this one again, and everything was hunting this, and brutal killing that, and it was so disgusting I had to stop and I gave away the whole series right then and there. I'm kind of amazed that so many kids, including myself at one point, are not horrified by these books!

    • I never thought of it that way before. I think at that age (or at least for me) I wasn't thinking Pa was killing Bambi's mother. Even now, despite being anti-gun I must realize that's how it was in the 1860s.

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