Thursday, September 13, 2012
Little House in the Big Woods
The Little House in the Big Woods is the story of the author Laura Ingalls Wilder. She has written the book as a fiction perhaps because she narrates it from the point of view Laura, the little girl, instead of the grown woman she was at the time she wrote the book. I picked up the book to read, to see if it was something I could gift to a preteen. The book provides a look into the life of a pioneer family living in the woods. For someone not familiar with pioneer life, this book would be as vivid as peering in through a window into Laura and her families' activities.
The book, details the simple yet challenging life that Laura's family lead. I found it very enchanting; the fact that people actually lived in such harsh physical conditions and did such hard work, yet had a contented life, really intrigued me. I also appreciated, how no matter the century in which one grew up, there seemed to be all sorts of insecurities. Laura, the little girl shares how she felt about her 'dull brown hair' when compared to her sister's 'shiny blond hair'. Even in a world of no television or magazines, the pressure to look a certain way, very much existed. What I loved about the book was how much I learnt about pioneer life, from making hulled corn, to cheese, to maple sugar, to straw hats, to bullets, to threshing wheat, to dressing up for a dance! The beauty of it all!
I read the 75th anniversary edition which had illustrations by Garth Williams. He had actually met Wilder and palces where she grew up in order to draw the pictures. Ms. Wilder supposedly loved the illustrations. The illustrations are not the cute kind, which I love. But, for this book, the minimalistic rough sketches pair well with the story.
I do have to caution parents about the sections where animals are killed for meat, which as you may imagine is part and parcel of living at that time. But otherwise, this book is a book worth sharing with children of all ages! It was a learning experience for me.
Age Appropriate For: 8 and up