Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Published: 1932

Genre: middle grade historical autobiography

Length: 238 pages

Setting: a forest near Pepin, Wisconsin, 1860s

Interest: It was our first American History Club book on westward expansion. Both the boys and girls read it, mainly because I’d never managed to read any of the series.

Summary: We follow along with Laura and her family for a year, starting in the fall. The family lives deep in the Big Woods (Laura’s never even seen a town at five years old) and so must provide most of the food they need for the year. Pa hunts and butchers a pig for meat, which is smoked for storage, they have a garden for vegetables, and a cow for milk and cheese. Their Grandfather has a sugar bush for maple sugar. There’s not much to play with, but Laura and her sister Mary make do. Friends and family get together regularly to do the big chores and have some fun together.

Final thoughts: This book is just begging to be read aloud. The book starts like a story someone is telling. I didn’t realize it was autobiographical. I thought was just loosely based on her life. It’s not a very exciting book, since it really just relays the family’s life on the frontier. I love reading about all the tasks that people used to do that are now covered by “go to the store and buy it.” I also enjoyed all the songs that Pa sang to the family, although not all of them are culturally appropriate anymore. This book and series is a classic for a reason.

Title comes from: the setting

Reading challenges fulfilled: 83/100 in my Finally to 100 Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!


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