October 05, 2011
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
This particular installment, Little House in the Big Woods, is about a year in the life of Laura Ingalls and her family while they still lived near their relatives in the big woods of Wisconsin. It details what they did to prepare for the winter, be it butchering or putting up the harvest. Then, throughout the winter, it tells of their wonderful Christmas tradition, the things they did on cold winter nights to make the time pass by, and gradually leads us to spring.
The highlight of the spring section is the Sugaring-Off Dance and the collection of maple syrup. Wilder gives great detail in this particular event and it is clear that it is one she remembers fondly. They also go to town for the first time in this section of the book and see a town shop for the first time.
Through summer it talks of planting and harvest and goes back into the fall time where this time Wilder covers other fall harvesting techniques such as threshing grain and making cheese. It is interesting to note that for the making cheese they even list how the rennet is obtained.
This book is obviously very suited for children, however, I should note, that in one of the songs that Wilder has listed there is a derogatory term. However, being the time that this book was written it was appropriate to use this term, it could provide a valuable lesson for children on how things change in our world and why such words are not suitable to be used in today's society. Everything else in the book is perfectly acceptable and indeed all the other songs are very age appropriate for young children.
Also notable for the book, is the abundance of pictures to accompany each chapter. While they are in black and white, they are very charming and do a great portrayal of the Ingalls' life. There are at least two or three per chapter illustrated by Garth Williams.
As always, this series was an enjoyable read and I loved going back to spend those first years with Laura while reading.
Little House in the Big Woods