[Little Town on the Prairie]: A Review

Hi everyone! Today I’m back with my July 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 with the read along hashtag (#LittleHouseRAL) and join us anytime!

I am excited post this review at the start of the month rather than at the end. 🙂

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This month’s book is Little Town on the Prairie.

Initial Thoughts:

  • I forgot how much time can pass in a single Little House book. We go through almost 2 years in this book and Laura grows up a lot in those years.
  • Nellie Oleson is back. I can hardly believe it! Oh, she is so mean and annoying!
  • I’m so glad Mary gets the chance to go to college in this book. And I’m impressed by how well off the family is in this book–they can afford new clothes and a trunk for Mary and finally have plenty of good things to eat.
  • More Almanzo and Laura!! YES!

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Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder details the prosperous years following the harsh winter of the previous novel. So much is happening in the Ingalls family. Mary finally is able to attend college for the blind in Iowa. Laura studies hard to become a school teacher to help pay for Mary’s school. The family once again moves to town during the winter. But the winter couldn’t be more different than the long winter. Town is fun and exciting with school, church, the ISchool Exhibition, birthday parties, and the latest in fashionable clothes and books. Through the years, Laura continues to grow up (becoming more interested in her looks and clothes) and begins to like living in town. Best of all, handsome Almanzo Wilder askes to walk Laura home several times. And Laura is finally old enough to get a teaching certificate.

Rereading this series has made me appreciate how Laura grows and matures. I enjoyed reading her experiences in this book because she was so much older. I can relate to her worries over her hair and clothes or having her own set of name cards because her friends do. I can appreciate her fears of reciting in public or of attending her first social. While she is growing up, Laura still has more to learn. I almost laughed out loud at how puzzled she was about Almanzo walking her home from church. Obviously, he likes her. And she is not aware of it at all yet. Most of all, what I love about Laura is how self-less she is with money. She only wants to teach school to help Mary. When she gets money from her sewing job, she gives it all to Ma. She is very aware of how much her parents have done to support their family and she wants to repay them, even if only in a small way. I admired that about her.

I was particularly impressed in this book by how well the Ingalls family takes care of each other. It has been fun to see the entire family grow up over the course of the books thus far. What stuck out in this book was how well the parents care for and teach their children. And how much Laura is starting to notice and appreciate about her parents. She can tell that Carrie has not recovered from the harsh winter and Laura defends her in school (which is an hilarious and crazy few chapters). Or when little Grace wants to go to town on the 4th of July, Ma will not let her go even though Grace gets upset about it. Laura realizes they have spoiled Grace a little and that she must learn. I wish we thought more like this now.

I love how fun it is to live in town in this book. They have literary meetings, church, sociables, dinner parties, and more. I want to live in this town! I was struck by the difference that time can make in people’s lives. One winter is so intense that no one can go out and many people nearly starve. But the next is so mild that people are bored and want more entertainment. Both winters are in the same place, but with such different outcomes. I think that is applicable to life today. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment or in what is happening tomorrow, next week, or next month. But time will continue to pass much further beyond then. And hope and better times are always coming in the future.

I seriously cannot get enough of Almanzo in these later books. I wish we got more of the scenes in this book from his perspective like in The Long Winter. Why did he ask Laura to walk home? Does he already know that he wants to marry her? I loved the chapters from his perspective in previous books and would have loved more of him in this book. Perhaps my favorite moment with him and Laura in this book is when he drives her to school after she picks up her name cards. Then he gives her one of his to keep. Aww, its just so sweet and timeless. I also love his incredible love and skill with horses that Laura can also appreciate. I cannot wait for more of their courtship and marriage in the next novel!

I feel like this series is full of great one-liner words of wisdom–so many great morals that can be applied to life today as well.

First, I like this line of thinking from Laura on the 4th of July. Since we just celebrated it in America this week, it struck me especially strongly.

“Suddenly she had a completely new thought. The Declaration and the song came together in her mind, and she thought: God is America’s king. 

She thought: Americans won’t obey any king on earth. Americans are free. That means they have to obey their own consciences. No king bosses Pa; has to boss himself. Why (she thought), when I am a little older, Pa and Ma will stop telling me what to do, and there isn’t anyone else who has a right to give me orders. I will have to make myself be good.”

Little Town on the Prairie, pages 75-76

I think Ma is so wise and always knows just what to say in any situation.

“Laura thought of Ma’s saying, ‘It takes all kinds of people to make a world.'”

“‘The prairie look so beautiful and gentle,’ Laura said. ‘But I wonder what it will do next. Seems like we have to fight it all the time.’  

‘This earthly life is a battle,’ said Ma. ‘If it isn’t one thing to contend with, it’s another. It always has been so, and it always will be.'”

Little Town on the Prairie, pages 45 & 89

And Pa is also able to see things so clearly and explain them well for his children.

“‘Nobody knows what will happen,’ Pa said. ‘Prepare for the worst and then you’ve some grounds to hope for the best, that’s all you can do.'”

Little Town on the Prairie, page 265

Overall, another wonderful Little House book! I feel like these last few have been especially fun to read because it feels like the first time I’ve read them. So excited for These Happy Golden Years next!

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Which Little House book do you love best?
Join the #LittleHouseRAL anytime!

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4 thoughts on “[Little Town on the Prairie]: A Review

  1. I used to love these books! I don’t know if I ever finished the series, but I remember rereading Little House in the Big Woods over and over again. I loved reading about their adventures in the forest! Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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