Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Book Review: Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

By: Laura Ingalls Wilder
Published by: Harper Collins Childrens
Date Published: First published in 1932
Ages: 8 and up
Source: Purchased
Purchase: Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | amazon

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars -- we both loved it!

Synopsis: Wolves and panthers and bears roam the deep Wisconsin woods in the late 1870's. In those same woods, Laura lives with Pa and Ma, and her sisters, Mary and Baby Carrie, in a snug little house built of logs. Pa hunts and traps. Ma makes her own cheese and butter. All night long, the wind howls lonesomely, but Pa plays the fiddle and sings, keeping the family safe and cozy.

You know when you're pregnant and you start buying books that you hope your child will love as much as you did? But because they're not even born you put them away on a shelf and years go by, the baby grows and one day she comes home all excited to read that very book? It just happened to me. I loved the Little House series when I was growing up. And when my MundieTween came home clutching Little House in the Big Woods, I was beyond excited. So we're going to do our very first joint review.

MMSophie: What was your favorite part of the story?
MTween: Probably when Pa plays "Pop Goes the Weasel" on Laura's birthday and Laura and Mary were watching for the "pop".
MMSophie: What made you love that moment?
MTween:  The girls asked him to do it again and again because they couldn't see when exactly he did it. 

We both decided we loved the family dynamic. MundieTween concluded that they were a "nice and sweet family" who stuck together no matter what happened. We discussed how hard and tiring life was for them in the big woods. I'd forgotten the part about the pig. I mean, you just couldn't get attached to animals that had to become food. MundieTween cringed a little when Laura described blowing up a pig's bladder and playing with it like it was a balloon. Ah, how times have changed.

The book is available in many formats including audio-book  We chose to both read and listen to it and I have to admit that the descriptions of family life during those times served to remind us of how thankful we are to have a roof over our heads and the cozy hum of our heater keeping us warm as temperatures drop.

Fourth graders start to learn about pioneers/settlers/emigrants and this is the perfect story which will accompany their social studies lessons. There are wonderful lesson plans and discussion ideas found here. It's also a great story to read this time of year because it gives us a lot to be thankful during our busy holiday times.


  1. One of my all-time favorite books. I'm so glad kids are still reading these. I loved them as a child, bought the whole set when I was (yes) pregnant, re-read them in my late twenties, and I'm thinking I might just re-read them again here in my sixties as my granddaughter is just about ready for them. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. Rosi - I'm holding on to these copies! I gave away my original set when I went off to college.


I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~