Welcome to April’s edition of the Little House Read Along hosted by Bex @ An Armchair by the Seaand 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 On the Banks of Plum Creek.
A few initial thoughts:
- I think this is my favorite book in the series thus far. And also the one I remember the most details from (building the house, the grasshoppers ruining the grain, Pa stuck in the blizzard, the special Christmas presents)
- Also I love the details that carried over to the TV show–the crab, the country/town parties, buying the slate, etc)
- Nellie Oleson is basically the worst.
- This book read very quickly for me. The type is big, the pictures are fun, and the stories bounce along easily.
- It was also runner up for the Newbery Honor Award in 1938 and is now considered a Newbery Honor Book.
On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder is the fourth installment in the Little House series. It returns to the Ingalls family as they settle in Minnesota near Plum Creek. The begin their new life in a dugout and Pa eventually builds a beautiful home with a cellar, stove, doors the lock with a key and an attic. Additionally, the family lives near a small town so Laura and Mary get to attend school and the family attends church. Following almost 2 years of life by Plum Creek, the novel chronicles many adventures and experiences of the family including fires, blizzards, special Christmas presents, new friends, parties, and lost crops. Can they overcome intense trials and build a new life in Minnesota?
I really enjoyed the older perspective in this novel and the way Laura sees the world. Because Laura is older, I think she notices more. She sees the way her parents look at each other or take care of their family. She starts to understand the value of church and of school. But she doesn’t loose her love of adventure and getting into trouble. I love the scene where Laura goes out to play in the flooded creek because of the lesson she learns. She thinks it will be totally fun but the water nearly drowns her.
“Laura knew now that there were things stronger than anybody.”
On the Banks of Plum Creek, page 106
I appreciate the way Laura is beginning to grow up and understand the difference between right and wrong. And through it all, she always loves her family and does her best to make her parents proud and to help in ways she can.
I also loved that the Ingalls family finally lives close to a town! I just felt so bad for Ma and the girls when they lived in the middle of Indian country. I think they have the best of both worlds near Plum Creek. They still live in the country but are close enough to walk to town. I loved reading about their interactions with new friends (and enemies), attending school and learning to read, attending church and Sunday School, and the many people that helped them. I think the added characters helped me stay invested in the story.
I am continually impressed by the way people lived during this time. But it is also interesting how many more resources the Ingalls family has when living near a town. The family is blessed with more temporal things that they don’t necessarily need but are nice to have. And I appreciate that they had some “fine things”–especially after reading Farmer Boy and learning how well off Almanzo’s family was.
I was a little disappointed with the ending of the novel. I was glad to have the family reunited, especially after the scary and intense blizzard. But I felt like the stories just kind of cut off in the middle. I wanted to hear more about Christmas and if the grain planted next year survives (please!). Perhaps I am getting ahead of myself, and I will read about the next year in the next book. I am excited to read the next book–especially because the family doesn’t have to leave their home!
What did you think of On the Banks of Plum Creek?