Today I am back with my first review as part of the Little House Read Along hosted by Bex @ An Armchair by the Sea and Lynn @ Smoke and Mirrors. Each month, we will read and review one of the Little House books. More info about the read along can be found through the links above. Check it out and join us anytime! I think this is such a great read along idea and loved reminiscing in the first book.
This month’s book is Little House in the Big Woods.
A few initial thoughts:
- This book is just so cute. And perfect for young, new readers.
- It’s not really action driven. The plot isn’t as important. This surprised me at first (I couldn’t remember what to expect) but made the novel more endearing as I read on.
- I love the illustrations in this book.
- I didn’t realize this book was so short. It was a quick read for me, but I didn’t feel like I rushed through it.
The first book in the series, this novel follows the Ingalls family over one year. Laura, the main character in the novel, lives with her Ma, Pa and sisters Mary and Carrie. Their log cabin in the big woods is the site of hard work, fun celebrations, and important lessons. Throughout the novel, we get short stories about life in the big woods including chores and work around the house, the excitement of Christmas, visiting town for the first time, and playtime through the seasons.
While I have read these novels before, I haven’t read them in years. My new perspective as an adult rather than a child changed these books for me in several ways.
First, living in the big woods was sure hard work! I was amazed by the amount of work they accomplish and must accomplish daily. I found the details about making cheese, hats, clothing, and treats really interesting. Everything was homemade. And everyone helped with the work. The scenes that stuck out to me the most are the scenes leading up to winter towards the beginning of the book. We get a sense of the intensity of the work required to survive through winter–harvesting and storing food throughout the house.
Second, life was so simple back then. People find joy in simple pleasures. They work to survive and their lives are full of hard work and small moments. I love the Christmas stories and how exciting getting new mittens and a piece of candy was to the children. I also love how excited Laura is to get a new doll–and how meticulous it was created. My other favorite scene was the dance at grandma and grandpa’s house. I love the dancing, the feasting, and the excitement.
I had not been so aware of the perspective of the novel before, specifically that Laura is only 4 years old at the start of the book. We get simple stories because she saw the world through innocent eyes. We admire her parents because she does. We are annoyed by Mary sometimes because Laura is. We love Pa’s fiddle playing and stories because Laura waits with such anticipation for them. The entire book is told as a small child would tell it. And I think that is what makes the series so endearing. I love these books because they are childlike and innocent. I am interested to see if the perspective shifts in the other novels.
Overall, a darling novel about a happy family in the big woods. I feel sad that they have to leave their comfortable cabin and go to the prairie. But looking forward to the next book next month!
Have you read the Little House books?
What do you think of them?