Wilder, Laura Ingalls. Little Town on the Prairie. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers. 1971.
Laura Ingalls lives on the prairie in the Dakota Territory in late 1800's. Laura loves life on the prairie even though life is not easy. Laura and her family must work hard to maintain their homestead, produce enough food to survive the hard winters, and send Laura's sister Mary to the college for the blind. However Laura family still finds time for fun. As the town grows, the people of the town join together in putting on activities to pass the long winter days. This is a book about the joys of working hard as a family and the simple pleasures of nature, family and community.
Tattered Cover says:
This book was such a wonderful surprise! I was enthralled by the simplicity of the portrayals of everyday life on the prairie. The Ingalls family did not have time for superficial things and the straightforward manner in which this book is written reflects that. This is a book that reminds us all to not forget the simple pleasures of life. For such an unassuming book, it may just hold the secret to true happiness...family, love, and working together towards a common goal.
How to use this in a library:
Being a historical semi autobiographical book, I think this would be great for a book club that could tie in some American history lessons about the time period. Students could be asked to look up non fiction books about homesteaders and how they contributed to the expansion of America. Projects for the book could be for students to build models of the town and use them as a exhibit in the library to display the Little House series.
"The little settlement that weathered the long, hard winter of 1880-81 is now a growing town. Laura is growing up, and she goes to her first evening social. Mary is at last able to go to a college for the blind. Best of all, Almanzo Wilder asks permission to walk home from church with Laura. And Laura, now fifteen years old, receives her certificate to teach school.
And so continues Laura Ingalls Wilder's beloved story of a pioneer girl and her family. The nine Little House books have been cherished by generations of readers as both a unique glimpse into America's frontier past and a heartwarming, unforgettable story." 1942 Newbery Honor Book, Notable Children's Books of 1940–1954 (ALA)
"Young readers will still enjoy the quaint memories of Laura Ingalls' life on the prairie, which was first published in 1941. Each chapter is a short story in itself. Together they tell of Laura's life as a fifteen-year-old. Mary moves away to college, Almanzo begins courting Laura (although she doesn't actually realize it), and the novel culminates with Laura testing for teacher certification earlier than expected. She's needed at a school 12 miles away, and readers will close the cover of this book curious to read the next one to find out how Laura fares in the classroom. Although some time has passed since this story actually occurred, readers will relate to naughty students in the one room schoolhouse, Laura's concerns about her studies, and a rivalry with the jealous Nellie Olson. Reading this book is also a great education on life in pioneer times: the endless chores, hard work, and threatening weather that will cause any reader to appreciate the comforts of the 21st century. 2004 (orig. 1941) Mary Loftus- Children's Literature