My Yellow Little House Books

by Wendy Copley on June 7, 2011

My Little House Books

If you’ll pardon the repetition, I need to talk about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books just a bit more. As I mentioned before, reading The Wilder Life last month has made me want to reread the entire Little House series. Wyatt and I are reading them together for the time being, but I have a feeling he’ll need to take a break somewhere in the DeSmet years, probably around The Long Winter or Little Town on the Prairie. As much as I’d like to believe that my six-year-old boy will be interested teenage girls buying calling cards, attending literaries and curling their bangs with a slate pencil, I have a feeling that might not hold his interest.

My Little House Books

When I decided to read the series to Wyatt, my first stop was the library. Our local branch has multiple copies of all the books, but the first few obviously get a lot of action because we had to visit several times before I could get my hands on Little House in the Big Woods. I still haven’t seen a copy of Little House on the Prairie! I looked into buying a set, but then I realized that my parents probably still had my own books from my childhood. After a call to my dad, a package arrived yesterday holding the yellow cardboard box with nine faded Harper Trophy editions of my beloved Little House books.

My Little House Books

As I pulled each book out, their covers brought back so many happy memories of the hours I spent in Laura’s world. I used to sit in a rocker and read them on our front porch in the summers (quaint, huh?) and I would stay up late reading them in my room too. My parents’ bedroom was downstairs and mine was upstairs, so once they fell asleep they had no idea that my light was on and that I was staying up until 2:00 am reading about life on the prairie. (At least I think they didn’t know. Mom? Dad?)

I also played Little House with my friend Nancy a lot. She lived a block away from a small creek (or maybe it was a stream? I’m not sure what the difference is.) and we would take turns pretending we were Laura, Mary or that delightful witch, Nellie Oleson as we jumped around in our very own Plum Creek. Sometimes we even wore our extremely fashionable prairie skirts while we played. Remember those? Mine was brown corduroy.

My Little House Books

The Little House books aren’t without their problems, of course, and some of those issues are front and center in my mind as we delve into Little House on the Prairie. The Ingalls’ relationship with Native Americans and the way Laura writes about it is troubling. Pa built a homestead in “Indian territory” by his own admission, for pete’s sake! And Ma — everyone’s beloved Ma — is about as bigoted as a person can be. Even the language Wilder uses is uncomfortable. We’ve just finished chapter one and already Laura has decided that she wants her very own “brown Indian papoose.” Ugh.

But I believe that the best books make you think and expose you to things you didn’t know about before, so along with discussions about sacrifice, industriousness and johnny cake, Wyatt and I will be talking about racism, stereotypes and the crimes against Native Americans that were perpetrated by our county. Also on the menu: poverty, grasshopper clouds, malaria, near drowning, disability and a whole town’s near starvation. Admittedly heavy stuff, but with a little guidance I think he can handle it.

My Little House Books

Do you have memories of the Little House books? Was there another book you read as a child that you’ve never forgotten?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

  • Ladyrenee3

    I have that very set!  But mine is in a light blue box!!  I have read them all and loved them!!  Great idea reading them to your kids!!

  • Leelah&Lennon’sMommy

    I love the Little House Books and bought a similar collection when I visited the Laura Ingalls Wilder house as a child 🙂 We also reenacted many scenes in our backyard throughout the years!  As an adult I still love visiting the Laura Ingalls Wilder home with my daughter…we also plan to start reading the books this summer, and visit her home again once they are finished. ( we only live like an hour away )

  • Which home are you near? I’d love to visit one of them some day!

  • Liz

    My sister and I have this thing we call “the nose”… when I see something from my childhood that I’ve forgotten about, I get this tingling in the bridge of my nose. She gets it, too. Seeing the covers of these books…. THE NOSE!

  • Liz

    My sister and I have this thing we call “the nose”… when I see something from my childhood that I’ve forgotten about, I get this tingling in the bridge of my nose. She gets it, too. Seeing the covers of these books…. THE NOSE!

  • Leelah&Lennon’sMommy

    The one in Mansfield, Missouri where she actually wrote the books…it’s very neat! http://www.lauraingallswilderhome.com/  The home tour is very interesting…they have all of her original belongings still in the home and everything is super tiny 🙂 The museum also has a lot of very neat stuff. Rose’s home is included in the tour, although it is not in its original state. ( I think it was used as a rental property for a long time before becoming part of the tour )

  • Leelah&Lennon’sMommy

    The one in Mansfield, Missouri where she actually wrote the books…it’s very neat! http://www.lauraingallswilderhome.com/  The home tour is very interesting…they have all of her original belongings still in the home and everything is super tiny 🙂 The museum also has a lot of very neat stuff. Rose’s home is included in the tour, although it is not in its original state. ( I think it was used as a rental property for a long time before becoming part of the tour )

  • Leelah&Lennon’sMommy

    Mine is the blue set also 🙂

  • Leelah&Lennon’sMommy

    Mine is the blue set also 🙂

  • Oooh! That’s the one with Pa’s fiddle! It seems like the easiest one to get to, too, thought they’re all a bit of a trek from California.

  • Pat E. Parker

    I have that same set – and I also still have my holly hobby doll, whom I named Laura all those years ago. Love them. I re-read them every two or three years, and I am hoping to start reading them to Stella soon. My husband even bought me some of those ‘Caroline’ books and ‘Rose’ books, but they are just not as good…..

  • Clansi Rogers

    I had only read LIttle House in the Big Woods (I have a much loved red Penguin Classics edition) till about 4 years ago when I found Plum creek and Farmer Boy in the yellow covers like you have at a family holiday home! 

    An interesting aside on the predjudice and treatment of native Americans is the debate that Laura wins arguing that Native Americans had been more mistreated than African Americans in Little Town in the Ozarks 

  • OMG, you have no idea.  I think I’m Laura, re-incarnated.

  • what i meant was… I was MEGA obsessed, too.

  • did you watch the tv series and get confused because it was nothing like the books?

  • No, I didn’t watch it. My mom was also a Little House fan and she didn’t like it because they took so many liberties. I remember seeing an  episode now and then as a kid but even at such a young age I knew it was weird and not historically accurate. Like their house was enormous and they used to go to restaurants and stuff. WTF? There were no restaurants on the prairie. I tried watching it again when I had mono a few years ago, but it was so boring that I couldn’t get more than a few episodes in before I gave up.

  • AKD

    Yes, once again, we were having almost exactly the same childhood – you in Iowa, me in Humboldt County. My Little House set is in HARDCOVER, am I so lucky or what? And my friend Michelle and I raced each other in reading through them over and over again, meeting each other in the morning before school saying “what page are you on?” Very good memories. I totally want to read “The Wilder Life.”

  • Stephanie Herbert

    I too have the blue box set! I really loved the Anne of Green Gables series. I have read it so many times. 🙂

  • Bubu

    Longtime follower, but I think first time posting: I just finished reading Charlotte’s Web with my 7-year-old last night. I think he was quite baffled at the tears streaming down my face but we really enjoyed it and are going to read the other two EB White’s in his set (Stuart Little and Trumpet of the Swan).  What beautiful writing, really appreciating that this time around. And much better understand the perspective of the grown-ups in the book. (I remember as a kid I kept thinking “why are they making all that fuss about the pig and not the spider? She’s the one doing the miracles!”)

  • Oh, Charlotte’s Web! That’s one of my *all-time* favorites. It was the first full-length chapter book I read all by myself and I was so proud. And I thought the exact same thing about them fussing over Wilbur!

  • You can borrow my copy if you like!

  • Nalene

    I had that same set as well!  I was all about babysitters club too.

  • Victoria

    As you already know, Wendy, I was a bit obsessed with LIW growing up and would check the books out of the library at school over and over again.  Each Christmas, I begged my folks (err…Santa) for the boxed set and each year, I was disappointed.  Then one year, my sister got the damn boxed set.  When I asked my mom about this years later, she insisted that I never liked LIW. Riiighhht…. At any rate, someone I dated actually bought the exact set that would’ve been published when I was a kid off of Ebay and gave them to me for Christmas one year.  It was a pretty great gift.

    I think my favorite book is Little House in the Big Woods because I love all of the descriptions of food in that book.  There’s a Little House Cookbook that has recipes for a lot of the foods mentioned in the series, including the little heart-shaped cakes Mary and Laura got in their Christmas stockings one year.  

  • martimajino

    Fabulous memories. I also loved Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and A Wrinkle in Time. I remember the total prairie look trend and Holly Hobbie, too. So fun!

Previous post:

Next post: