When I was a little girl I devoured The Little House on the Prairie series as a reader. I believe it was each Monday night we would gather for the weekly television show and I think secretly I thought I was one of the Ingalls girls. I'm not sure which one I was, but I'm pretty sure I was jealous of my sister Carrie because she actually had a name of one the Ingalls girls.
I recently reviewed, Little Author in the Big Woods A Biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Yona Zeldis McDonough for the IRA Teacher's Choices. In general, I'm really drawn to the narrative biography format and find it interesting to read. I think it's a great format idea to help engage children with history and informational text. While reading Little Author in the Big Woods I found myself having flashbacks to my younger days of reading and viewing this story. All three formats mesh together because of this narrative form. However, the book series does share new factual information about Laura's life and the travels her family lived. It also does a great job explaining why they moved quite often and the hardships they had. I found myself thinking, I've never heard this before and trying to remember when events happened that were new to me from reading this book. I think I realized my younger experiences with Laura Ingalls didn't include all the details and adventures the family had. I enjoyed reading a bit more factual piece about characters I still hold dear to my heart.
Here are three parts I love from this story and hope you find, if you pick this book up.
-"She didn't know it, but her future life as a writer was already beginning, right there amid the pages of those newspapers." (She was reading newspapers)
-"and although she did not know it, making pictures with words for her sister was preparing her for what would be her life's work: it was turning a bright, observant girl who loved reading into a full-fledged writer."
-"Her salary would be $20.00 a month. That seemed like so much money!" (Her first teaching job.)
I knew Laura Ingalls was a writer when I was little but reading this book as an adult with new eyes I realized Laura was more than the book series and television show. I found information about her parents to be quite different at times and very interesting. Laura was an activist, wrote articles and had her first book rejected a few times before being published.
This book is for an intermediate reader independently but I could see a second grader hearing it as a read aloud with a special adult after or before learning/reading the Little House on the Prairie series.
The end of the book has a small collection of quotes and if you know the "fictional" Laura this might make you smile. "Once you begin being naughty, it is easier to go on and on, and sooner or later something dreadful happens."