Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Little Town on the Prairie

Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

*does a little jig* I. Love. This. Book! Should I repeat that? I love this book!!! It's my favorite of the Little House books. Here are five reasons why:

Reason #1: Laura is fourteen-turning-fifteen, so just a little *younger* than me. (hard to believe I'm passing her in age....I remember being elated when I was her "same age" in On the Banks of Plum Creek :P)
Reason #2: Laura gets over her shyness of being in town. I'm so much a social person ("butterfly" as some would say :P) that I was tapping my foot, waiting for Laura to enjoy social activities and people :)
Reason #3: Nellie Oleson comes back into the story, and I love Laura's many showdowns with her.
Reason #4: In this book, Laura thinks and feels about things very much the same way I do, and I can truly relate to her experiences.
Reason #5: Almanzo.

Laura is a role model of mine, especially in this book. Her work ethic is amazing! She's willing to sew (something she doesn't like) to earn money, only to give it all to Mary so she can go to college. Since Mary is blind, her dream of teaching school went dark as well. Laura steps up to the plate, and begins to study more than she ever had before so she could get a teacher's certificate when she turned sixteen. That's determination.

Does anyone else think Kitty is a hoot? Or is it just me? If you don't know who I'm talking about, then look at the book cover. Kitty is in Mary's hand. For some reason, the story of that tough, ferocious little cat just tickles me pink. Somewhere in this book (Lizzy, you might know where it is) there's a line that says something like, "Kitty was a one-family cat." Meaning, if anyone else tried to pet her, she'd scratch and bite them. Talk about loyalty :)

The school part of this book is interesting. I'm still trying to decide whether I think Laura was right to be so angry at Miss Wilder, or whether I should feel sorry for Miss Wilder, or both. I can identify with Laura's feelings and thoughts perfectly here, I'd had them myself. But was Miss Wilder really "rotten" inside, or was she truly trying to be friendly? One look at Farmer Boy says the former, but she seemed very sincere. I guess it's one of those "have to be there to know" situations. What do y'all think? Were Laura's feelings justified, or was Miss Wilder really a nice person who was being taken advantage of?

In the chapter about Laura buying her own name cards, I'm still surprised every time that buggy pulls up beside her on the way to school. I've read this book ten or more times, but it still gets me! Don't you just love that line of Ida's..."Ooooh, you should've seen her face when you came driving up!"

I'm finding myself wanting to ramble on and on about what I like in these books, at the risk of spoiling it for others :) Do y'all like this "style" of book review?....they're very "Jo-ian" I know, and might need an acquired taste to get used to them. Would you prefer a more straightforward style? Or is this just right?

Before I *forget*, here are the ratings:

Jo's Ratings:
Character of Characters: *****
Strength of Plot: *****

Overall Rating: *********** (sorry, just had to do that :P)

Oh, here are some my favorite quotes from this book:
Nellie exclaimed in horror, "Why, people who don't go to revival meetings are atheists!" (Chap. 23: "Schooltime Begins Again" p.274)
or this one...

"Well, little Half-Pint, you did a fine job," Pa said when Laura and Carrie had pushed through the crowd to him and Ma. "You did too, Carrie."
"Yes," said Ma. "I am very proud of you both."
"I did remember every word," Carrie agreed happily. "But, oh, I am so glad it's over," she sighed.
"So - am -I," said Laura, struggling into her coat. Just then she felt a hand on the coat collar, helping her, and she heard a voice say, "Good evening, Mr. Ingalls."
(Chap. 23: "Schooltime Begins Again" p. 293-4)

Happy Tuesday! :)


  1. I must say that Nellie Oleson must be one of my favorite characters. ;)


  2. This book is SO good! I love it!

    I have said this many times, and I will say it again: the pioneers had wonderful work ethics. Just extraordinary.

    Kitty... ah, Kitty. Yes, I remember that quote, but I don't remember what part of the book it was in. That cat is really "a hoot", as you said.

    Hmm... that's tough. Miss Wilder seems to be "right" at heart--her idea about being friends with the student was good--but she seemed to take that a little far. I feel like Laura's emotions would be my own, and I think she was right. After all, she didn't want it to get out of hand--the boys got it out of control.

    Jo, I *love* your Jo-ian reviews, so keep at it! Maybe that's just because I remember reading these books, and I love hearing what you love about them. If I was going to be fair, I would wait until you posted a review for a book that I haven't read, and then decide whether your reviewing system is adequate. But, I am not going to be fair--I LOVE your reviews. Enough said.

    Love you!

    Elizabeth Rose

    P.S. Ooh, that last quote gives me delightful shivers down my spine... :)

  3. I am ashamed to say that I have only read "Little House on the Prairie" and "Little House in the Big Woods"! Your reviews are making me want to go get the whole set from the library. :) I really like the way you review, with the plot strength, etc. That's a great addition.

  4. Ugh! It's torture to read these reviews and not have read the books! But keep them coming. I second Lizzy's comments. You are one of the few bloggers I know who's review I can make it all the way through:)

    Love ya!