October 07, 2011
On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Having left Indian territory, the Ingalls make their way to Minnesota where they trade their wagon and horses for a piece of land and a dugout house. Pa is determined to build them a proper home, but has to wait for a good wheat crop first. Laura and her sister Mary spend their days playing in the creek and helping their Pa with the cow and planting. He builds them a new home and they're well on their way to happiness when disaster strikes in the form of grasshoppers who eat all the crops. In order to keep afloat, Pa must leave and take work elsewhere. In total, the book covers a little over two years of their lives living by Plum Creek.
It was reading this book again that I started getting an inkling suspicious that as wonderful as Pa is described in these books, he perhaps wasn't so great with money. While they never go without, he makes some not so sound business transactions in the book on borrowed credit. It kind of helped me to see deeper in the characters. Laura is good at describing herself as not being perfect, but rather just being a normal little girl while Mary is often the perfect child. Ma is there as a steady presence but is not nearly as severe as she is in some of the other books.
Wilder is a good writer. She really expresses herself in a way that is understood by all ages and especially be children, whom these books seem to be written for. There is plenty of description and even though life is very different now, it is still easy to see how they lived back then through her words. There really isn't anything offensive in this novel and it is entirely appropriate for children to read. The language is simple enough it should be easy for most ages to read themselves.
I love this series and this book is no different. Its a great glimpse into the life of Wilder and her family and also of the people who lived in those times.
On the Banks of Plum Creek
339 pages + pictures