Sunday, March 15, 2009

Little House in the Big Woods

Oh my gosh I could eat this book up, you guys! We actually finished it a week ago, so I'm a little late in posting about it. We also read it in just one week, because it was so good, we couldn't put it down. But before I get to all of our favorite chapters, I have to preface by saying that I could have done without the first few, which are entirely about hunting. And you could totally skip those parts; it wouldn't effect the story of the book. However, Zoe wanted to hear them, so we listened, and I really don't know how the Wilder family could have survived the winter in Wisconsin (at that time) otherwise.

As with all the great books we've read, there were times when Zoe and I looked at each other, like, "Ahhh! That's a bad word." (the word stupid was used in older books and classics) Or we would go, "Ahhh! We don't do that!" (they also used to spank, and we don't) But we know that these old books, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, are stories about American history, and while we may not live our lives as they did, there is a lot we can learn from them, and beauty to be found.

There are so many moments of joy and love, in the lives of this family, in Little House in the Big Woods. Simple pleasures, like the cozy log cabin, alone in the big woods, snug in the snowy winter, and a wood fire burning, are charming visual images. There was cooking with Ma, homemade dolls, clothing and blankets, falling asleep listening to Pa's fiddle and songs, Christmas time, and our favorite, the "sugar snow," when the maple trees were ready for collecting maple syrup, and the dance at Laura's grandparent's house that follows.

This book would be worth reading, if only for the chapter about the dance at Laura's grandparent's house, not that we didn't find many other lovely chapters. Still, this one is so delicious. The horse drawn sleigh with bells, the view through the woods in the early morning, the way the sun rose through the trees on the way... it's so beautiful. We savored every moment of it. Then we read it to Andy that evening, and we read it again the next day :-) And then, we moved on, though I'm sure we'll be going back to it again soon! But first I think we'll finish Little House on the Prairie, which we have already begun.


  1. I didn't see this the first time around!

    I agree about the hunting and the spanking. I toned down some of the punishment language, and even some of the hunting.

    In general, I often change "have to" language so that the person speaking takes responsibility for their actions. Here's a simple example, "I have to go home now" becomes "I want to go home now."

    I am glad you all liked the book as much as we did. I am going to get the second one, too.

  2. That's a great idea!

    I have to kind of jump over sentences though, because Zoe follows along as I read (I use my finger) and she would call me on it if I did that :-) Like if I pause to say something to Ashley she'll finish reading the sentence for me.

    We got half way into the second book and then took a break to read other things. We're really into The Fairy Chronicles right now, on the second one of those. :-)