Welcome to February’s edition 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 with the read along hashtag (#LittleHouseRAL) and join us anytime!
This month’s book is Little House on the Prairie.
A few initial thoughts:
- When I think of the Little House books, I think of this one. A lot of the story was familiar to me, including the ending.
- I was surprised how much longer this one is than the first. It’s over 300 pages. But the many illustrations make it go quickly.
- I like that this one had more action.
- We may have bought the TV series this month too 🙂
Like the first novel, Little House on the Prairie follows the Ingalls family over one year. But this year could not be more different than life in the big woods. At the start of this novel, the family moves to the wide open spaces of Indian Territory to start over. Pa builds the house, stable, and furniture; Ma and the girls keep house; and they all must learn to interact with the wild Indians and new neighbors on the Prairie. Despite setbacks, illnesses, fire, and rumors of wars, the Ingalls settle into their new life happily. But can it last?
The first thing that stands out to me with this novel is again the amount of work it took to create a home. They move to the prairie and Pa has to build the house–which they live in without a proper roof, door, or floor for a time. Then he builds the chimney and the stable and digs a well. Wow! I was impressed that they don’t take their furniture from the big woods in the wagon because Pa can just build more furniture. The level of self reliance people had in this book astounds me.
I enjoyed Laura’s perspective more in the book than in the first. Perhaps its the slightly older perspective she gives or just the added plot developments, but this was a quicker read for me and easier to stay invested in the story. She is certainly still a child–6 years old by the end. But her perspective has changed. It was unique to see so many potentially intense situations like the Indian visits or when the whole family gets so sick or the prairie fire from a small child’s perspective. Somehow, I knew everything would be alright because it seemed that Laura felt that was too.
I did not remember the legality of living in Indian Territory being such a central plot line of this novel. In fact, I was surprised by the Indian war chants and even by the reason the Ingalls family had to leave their little home. I had remembered that they move on at the end of the novel, but not the government involvement. I wonder how much of that Laura was really aware of as a small child, and how much of that came with her adult perspective. Regardless, I felt Laura’s fear and concern about the Indians, but I also appreciated Pa’s honest and positive attitude towards them. I especially appreciated Laura’s midnight questions about why the Indians have to leave if they were here first–so innocent and yet so wise.
Overall, this novel was more enjoyable than the first. It has some discussion of more serious themes but all through the tender lens of a child’s experiences with her family. Another great read for young readers!
What do you think of Little House on the Prairie?