Review: Little House on the Prairie

Posted January 25, 2013 by Whitney in Review / 3 Comments

Review: Little House on the PrairieLittle House on the Prairie
Author Laura Ingalls Wilder
Series: Little House #2
Publisher HarperCollins
Publication Date April 8, 2008
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Bought
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A family travels from the big woods of Wisconsin to a new home on the prairie, where they build a house, meet neighboring Indians, build a well, and fight a fire. Includes a detailed account of how the novel was written and published.

I recently brushed off the dust and read it for the first time in over fifteen years.

When  I first read Little House on the Prairie I was overwhelmed by the coolness of Laura playing in the tall prairie grass with her sunbonnet swinging down her back, with a vigilant look-out for Indians after chore time.  Now, after passing 8th grade history and learning of Indians being “pushed out” of their homeland (and let’s face it, they did call shotgun first…) Charles “Pa” Ingalls sense of entitlement over his land (despite being on reservation territory) annoyed me and lost a little respect for him even with his strong work ethic and trust in the Osage tribe.

Racism and prejudice was also lightly touched on in this book, Ma while perhaps worried for her family’s safety proclaims “I don’t like Indians” washing her hands of the subject.  Ma,  the June Cleaver of her time doesn’t like someone?  How can this be?  I have always been disgusted by prejudice and racism so was a little disappointed in Ma.  But on the other side of the coin, I realize this was a different era and was probably (if unfortunate) an accurate depiction of the time.

When I was younger, I thought the farm animals were awesome, as was building the house,well, Indians and even fever ‘n’ ague.  Now, fifteen years later I was a little less wowed.  I still love the Little House books, but found this book more eye-opening than I did at the age of eight.


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3 responses to “Review: Little House on the Prairie

  1. Really interesting! I, too, read a couple of the Little House books as a kid and loved them to death, but maybe I need to re-read and look at them with fresh eyes.

    • I think it is interesting to go back to a childhood favorite and read them with wiser eyes as there might have been a deeper meaning behind those log walls.

      I'll admit, I recently went back and listened to a Backstreet Boy cd (yes I was a teeny bopper) and in the 90s didn't pick up on the sexual innuendo sprinkled throughout the lyrics.

  2. Relooking at the Little House books as an adult is definitely a different experience–it's easier to find darkness hiding underneath the surface that I missed as a child. I'm a little surprised, actually, given both the era in which they took place and when they were written that they seem to have a fairly balanced portrayal of Native Americans.

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