I am afraid I never read the books, but of course I watched the series when I was a kid. I enjoyed it, but I got to admit I found it partly to whiny and overly dramatic with all the speeches and crying, this didn´t appeal to me when I was kid.
Anyway, I remember Teresa, like you, once said the books were nothing like the series and she made it sound great (essp. the Laura/Almanzo story, which was kinda creepy in the series). So I thought about starting to read the books now, as a grown up, but I simply forgot about it.
Now what you wrote made me think: would the books be a nice read for a grown-up? Should I get them?
I don’t know how I missed those books as a child. I spent my summers in the library. I did buy some of them for my children though. And when they were young we watched all the repeats of the tv show. I think I started out reading the Trixie Beldon books lol.
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these books! One of my most vivid memories from my childhood is reading a Laura Ingalls Wilder book at T.G.I.F. Friday’s in very dim light. They were sooo good and such fun to read.
I even liked the series even though there’s no resemblance to the stories whatsoever. But Michael Landon was always “Charles” in my eyes. Sigh. I would watch the show before my way to school and/or watch it when I was scared during a thunderstorm.
They’re really such a great read - read them now! And if you have children, definitely have them read those… they’re defining books.
*stepping off my stepstool now*
The Little House on the Prairie Books are among my all time favorite children’s books. I loved each one of them. When I was a kid I remember really wanting the complete set but I never got them. I bought a set at a flea market a couple of years ago that was identical to the set I used to admire longingly at the bookstore. I keep planning to read them again but I get distracted with other book recommendations from the Squawkers and Squawkees.
I read and loved the Little House books, but I never made as strong an emotional connection with Laura Ingalls as I did with Betsy Ray of Maud Hart Lovelace’s Bety-Tacy books and with Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne Shirley. However, I own all three series, and I am already enjoying the delights of sharing them with my seven-year-old grandniece.
Huh. I’ve never heard Minnesota described as “the real west” before.
I read all those books to Doodah when she was little and I think I tumbled to something in doing them all back to back. I think “Pa” was a sociopath. The man could NOT hold a job and there was always some lame reason he was moving that poor family hither and yon.
Michael Landon made a cute sociopath, though…
Janga, oo, yes on the Betsy-Tacy books! Those were my second love, and very few people seem to know them today. And of course I loved Anne of Green Gables. What a fabulous character. I think, tho, it’s the first book that makes you love reading that really makes an impact, and that was the Little House books for me.
I know a lot of people loved the Little House series, but I truly hated it. It wasn’t true to the characters, and it was so melodramatic—which works great on TV, but why call it Littel House and why use the character names? I was so excited when it came on, and conversely just as angry when I realized what they’d done to MY books. I know, I know—get a life.
(smiles) I remember the Little House Books. They really are wonderful and interesting. You know, those along with the American Girl doll books inspired a great love of history in me that I still have. My mother got me the boxed set for Christmas one year. We have a shelf of shared books at home (I’m away at college right now) that include the Little House Books, Caddie Woodlawn, and The Shoe books. Also our romance novels. I’m looking forward to having a daughter to introduce to them. Or a niece. Cause that would work too.
I read the books, but I don’t remember where I got them (certainly NOT from my older brother). I also remember the Encyclopedia Brown mysteries from around 4th and 5th grade--those were awesome too!
I loved the Little House books. I remember I wanted the set so much, that when my daughter came along I got her the set because I never got it. I loved history through the eyes of those who lived it. That was what Little House did. About that time I enjoyed the Diary of Anne Frank, From Six to Sixteen, and the Boxcar Children. It was a way to see how others lived.
I read every Ingalls book from our library. Then started to get them all for the grandchildren. We are really spoiled now, compared to then.
I loved Little House books. I saved up my allowance and did extra chores just so I could have all of the books. They are just lovely books, and now I’m wishing that I could have them here next to me to read. I think my favorite book is “Little Town on the Prarie” or “Farmer Boy”. I just love Almanzo!
And I loved Anne of Green Gables. She is such a wonderful character. I love reading about her growth as a human. Oh man, i am so re-reading these tonight!
Christina, I wanted to stand up and cheer when Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) recommended the Betsy-Tacy books to her customers in You’ve Got Mail. I guess Nora Ephron is a Lovelace fan too.
Di, remember to have plenty of hankies on hand if you reread the Anne books. Rilla of Ingleside particularly is one of the saddest books I ever read.
I didn’t read those… But I remember absolutely LOVING “Little men” (from the same author of Little women, that is, L.M.Alcott). I was 12 I think when I read it and I cried a lot… haha
One of my favorite series ever is “Choose your own adventure”. I loved those books!! They were so much fun…
I used to love the Little House books too. I don’t know where all my copies of them have gone… Never watched the series.
The only Anne book I’ve read all the way through is Rilla of Ingleside. Not sure why I couldn’t get into the others. I like some of LM Montgomery’s other books too, like the Emily trilogy and The Blue Castle. I might have to give them another try.
I don’t know what my first books were. I don’t remember not knowing how to read. The Saddle Club was one of my must reads for a while; I think I finally weaned myself away when I was 14 or so - around the time I started noticing that they’d had 3 christmases and birthdays but never got any older. I still pick up one of them every now and then.
Also loved The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, My Friend Flicka - basically anything with horses, I’d read - and L’Engle, McKinley, The Keeping Days series…
When I was around 10 or 11 I was given my first Victoria Holt book. I was hooked after the first book; and now have every book that she had ever written. I never did read the Little House books, but did read Anne of Green Gables, Nancy Drew, and loved Little Women/Men. In grade school I read the biography’s of the presidents wives, and “Johnny Tremain”. Oh how this brings back memories!
I loved the Little House books. I read them all--wish I still had them. But I will definitely buy them so that my daughter can enjoy them just as much.
Linda, I remember reading my first Victoria Holt book....I was in the 7th grade. My English teacher, Mrs. Parker, recommended it. God bless her--I’ve been hooked on romance ever since.
I remember reading Little House On The Prarie (and In The Woods). I liked them okay, but I really loved Louisa May Alcott. I loved Little Women, Little Men, Joe’s Boys, and Rose In Bloom.
I read the Little House books many times. I’m not sure when the first time was. I know our 4th grade teacher read them to us, but I don’t remember if I’d read them before that.
I truly hated the series and could not watch it.
I didn’t read Anne of Green Gables as a youth . . .have read as an adult. Series books I read were Trixie Belden books and The Cherry Ames nurse books. Did anyone else read those? By Jr. High I was also reading all the doctor-nurse romances I could check out of the public library. Oh . . .and catching lots of dread diseases :D I was a very impressionable reader.
I got the Little House book set for Christmas one year - probably about 1st or 2nd grade - I still have the books, beaten up, water damaged (I learned the hard way it was a bad idea to take books to the pool), and well loved. I liked the TV series too.
The Little House books were some of the first books I read all by myself. But my love of books and reading started way before that, some of my first memories are of my mom reading to me. She had a really old copy of Heidi, from when she was a child. It was sort of falling apart and was pretty fragile, but Mom let me turn the pages as she read.
The Little House books are among the best ever written, especially since I think they are a wonderful source of American history, and from a girl-to-young woman’s point of view at that!
I first read “On the Banks of Plum Creek” which I got at a school book fair, and I was oh so delighted to learn there were more in the series. My sister and I still quote them.
As for Pa being a “sociopath”...he was a loving husband and father and worked very hard for his family, in difficult circumstances. I think he just loved wide open spaces. One of my favorite things about the “Little House” books is that it highlights a family working together, often making sacrifices for one another (Mary and Laura each giving Carrie half of their cookie—it didn’t occur to them NOT to share).
I also loved Trixie Belden (so much more of a real girl than Nancy Drew), Victoria Holt(wonderful dark heroes), and also Sally Watson (my favorites were “Lark,” “Mistress Malapert,” and “Jade.") You can find reprints of her books and many other classics at http://www.imagecascade.com
I dunno, Lisabella. Connie has a freaky ability to catch the hidden stuff most people rarely “get.”
Have you seen A Million Dollar Baby?? I’d seen it about three times, but it wasn’t until Connie suggested I pay attention to why the Clint Eastwood character kept feeling guilt enough to go to church all the time--though obviously not a religious sort of person. And why WAS his daughter so mad at him...what did he do (obviously involving the mother) that made it so that daughter couldn’t forgive him--wouldn’t even open his letters to her? And yet we find out through his relationship with Hillary Swank’s character, he is wonderfully compassionate(hidden by rough edges) to the point of his own heartbreak.
Ya get it? YA GET IT???
I almost peed myself when I stumbled upon that one, but you can surely bet when it comes time to read LIW to my kids, I’m going to pay special attention Pa.
For me, it was all about Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden, Grimm Fairy Tales and books about Native Americans that got me (but I can’t remember the titles).
A little older, Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley completely rocked my world. It’s King Author myth told from a woman’s perspective. AMAZING.
Am I late to the party? I so read these when I was younger. I remember the first day of kindgergarden the teacher Ms. Paulson reading us Little House in the Big Woods. And then the rest of them. Like you, Christina, I played Laura Ingalls Wilder pioneers with my friends… we used to go into the woods and plant pumpkins and pretend that if we didn’t bring home lots of leaves to eat, we would get in trouble. And I vivdly remember being shocked by getting an orange for Christmas and not being able to anything fun on Sunday as it was the sabbath.
I also read the Anne of Green Gables series (and I adore the miniseries) and read Caddie Woodlawn, which has got some similarities to Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Being a child of the TV generation, I was introduced to Little House by none other than Michael Landon. I read a few of the books when I was young, but didn’t read the whole series until I became a teacher. Of course when I read the books as an adult I had a different reaction. Pa did like to move a lot. I guess he would have had to leave me behind!
Sharing the books with children of eight and nine years old (including my own), made me see what an adventure the Ingalls girls had! I had forgotten.
The adult in me sees the neverending hardship. The kid in me enjoys the feeling of not knowing what the next chapter brings!
I loved the “Little Hous” books when I was young. But I always wondered why they were filed under fiction even though the author was plainly stated as Laura Ingalls Wilder. (You should have seen the light bulb go off above my head when I read “Farmer Boy” and realized where her last name came from.) Shouldn’t it be biography?
My favorite book of the series was “These Happy Golden Year” because it was the romance one. Almanzo would drive through the snow each week to pick Laura up from her teaching job so he (and her family) could see her. What could be more romantic?
I was a big reader at that age and it’s been a lot of fun to go back and re-read all my childhood favorites through adult eyes. What I pick up now is completely different.
Christina, it also shocked me about Laura’s Christmas presents. The only candy she got all year was a peppermint stick each Christmas. I don’t even like peppermint! Where’s the chocolate?
Anybody else remember the Lois Lowry series about Anastasia, the thirteen year old. I remember them being really funny. I’m re-reading a few other children’s right now. A Little Princess, and the Chronicles of Narnia. (I just got a great deal on eBay for the whole set.)
I’m sorry to say that I didn’t read the Little House books when I was younger. However, I do remember reading the Boxcar Children and loving that book. I think I wore out the copy my school library had. My oldest son is a reader and I introduced him to them when he got older and he loved them also.
So many books....so little time.
I have never read the Little House books.
My intro Laura Ingalls was the tv show. I remember watching MAYBE twice. It was way too sugar sappy sweet for me.
My early reading was biographies of famous people.
I LOVED this series. My two favorite are THE HAPPY GOLDEN YEARS and THE FIRST FOUR YEARS. I practically wore my copies out!
Movies and tv shows rarely live up to the book! I always try to read the book first and if i see the movie first I don’t usually go back to the book - then you can’t imagine anything for yourself.
I loved these books so..I bought “On the Banks of Plum Creek” at our book fair ($1.95!) way back when. Still have that book. DD loves them too, except when Jack dies, and then what happens to Mary..
I did watch the show, maybe because I was also obessed with Holly Hobbie, and I thought the TV Laura dressed liked her! Still have all the books,and even my “cool” 12 yr. old DS listens when we read the books together.
“Island of the Blue Dolphins” was a big fav. too!
Being a lurker on this site for over a year now, I finally have to speak on this subject, even though I am late. Growing up, I too would do extra chores so I could earn money to buy The Little House series, still have the books, missing covers and all. Read them to my children.
Almost everyone here has validated my feelings on the tv show, thank you. Hardly ever watched it. Laura always cried on the show; did she ever cry in one of the books? (I believe once, but not on a weekly basis, not even when they were starving to death in The Long Winter!) Ma’s name was Caroline, emphasis on the LINE, not Carolyn, as Michael Landon always called her. I could go on, but won’t.
One of the highlights of my 2 years going to school in Minnesota was visiting Plum Creek. I waded in it, looking for leeches that Laura had pulled off Nellie Olsen’s legs. Saw where they claimed her dugout had been, and even cried by Jack’s grave.
After having 3 sons, I finally had a daughter and named her Laura Grace, after Laura and her baby sister Grace.
I adored the Little House on the Prairie Series too- along with Anne of Green Gables, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Where the Red Fern Grows. I have just been reading my six-year-old the Little House books too, and I have to say the wolves have been giving both of us pause! But the story is so wonderful that my daughter decided having a bit of trouble sleeping was worth it.
thanks for reminding me of all of the wonderful childhood books that I loved! I loved Judy Blume too (and not just Forever, although that was pretty fascinating for a pre-teen!)
I love Little House on the Prairie books. I had a teacher that used to read from them every day when we came back from lunch.
I loved the stories so much that got them from the library and started reading them on my own.
My other favorites were Black Beauty, The Black Stallion and Flicka.
I have never read the books, but I did watch the series. As a kid I read Donald Duck, Asterix and Lucky Luke comics, all kinds of Finnish books, Nancy Drew books and books written by Enid Blyton. Mind you, one book I read few years ago was mentioned in one of those Lucky Luke comics (they are parody of all those Wild West clichés) and the book was called Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.
My aunt bought the boxed set for me when I was about 10. I, too, played Little House. I grew up in the country, and the woods around my house magically became the Big Woods of Minnesota, even though I was in Southern Illinois. My daughter is now 8, and I just bought the boxed set for her. It’s safely hidden away, waiting to be unwrapped on Christmas morning. I can’t wait to share the magic with her.
I’ve been a lurker for quite awhile now, and just have to jump in with my comments. I adored Laura Ingalls Wilder, started reading her books at a young age, and they were my comfort reads, re-read them many times over the years. My Girl Scout leader (my Mom) had us write to our favorite author and I was heartbroken to learn that Laura had died in 1957, so I wrote to her daughter Rose, who actually answered me, still have that letter. My wonderful parents surprised my sister and I one year and we drove to S. Dakota to the Ingalls house and museum for our summer vacation. We lived in PA so this was quite a trip, I remember being thrilled that I was in “Laura’s house” and quite sad at seeing the family gravesite. My daughter loved the series too and I plan to start my grandchildren’s library with these books.
I love hearing these stories about the LITTLE HOUSE books and about the other children’s books that are so precious to you. I’m wandering into my library right now to pick out one of the books and re-read ... what do you bet I end up reading the whole series?
Sorry I’m chiming in so late on this, but I just had to comment.
Sadly, I never got to read the Little House books as a child. I was one of those precocious kids who read odd books about the history of aviation. I know, I’m weird, what can I say?
But, during the two years I homeschooled my two daughters, I also worked in a bookstore, found the Little House series and bought all of them.
The girls and I discovered Laura Ingalls Wilder together and it’s a memory I cherish. Each day we would read a chapter and talk about what life must have been like for the little Ingalls girls, growing up as pioneers in America.
We also bought the LM Montgomery books and read those together, too.
I even found a book called “The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook” and we made some of the recipes out of it.
To this day, my older daughter loves the “Ruby Tea Biscuits”.
I don’t remember what my first favorite books were, although I remember clearly that in first grade we each had a posterboard ship we got to put a star on for each book we read. My ship nearly sank from the weight and I won whatever it was we were going for. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a book close to hand.
Third grade is the earliest I remember reading chapter books. I LOVED the Little House books, reread them all several times. I felt some connection to her because I lived out in the country too, and since it was eastern KY in the 1960s, some of the things they did weren’t that far removed from what I saw around me. Couldn’t stand the series though, for all the reasons the rest of you state.
I read through all the biographies in our little school library, and read all the Nancy Drew, Three Investigators, Hardy Boys, etc I could find. I also read all the Bobbsey Twin books. By the time I finished elementary school I had waded through Louis L’Amour, Agatha Christie, Nero Wolfe, every mystery and western I could get my hands on. At 10 I discovered Harlequins, and became deeply enamored of Australian Outback ranchers and Dutch doctors. In high school it was Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, Phyllis Whitney, Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy Sayers, Stephen King and The Queen, Georgette Heyer. I didn’t discover Anne of Green Gables until I was an adult, but I love the books and the mini-series. Ditto LOTR. And I still have anywhere from two to five books going at a time.
I still haven’t read Moby Dick or Gone with the Wind, though.
I got the whole set as a Christmas gift one year. I read them all during that Winter break. I still have that set. It’s down in my basement, but I still have them all.
I was so obsessed with these books, I actually dressed as Laura Ingalls Wilder for my 5th Grade Picture. I was wearing a calico dress and everything. I read them every summer; and dreamed of growing up to marry someone like Almanzo Wilder.
LOVED Little House on the Prarie...loved! (the books...the show i havent seen much of but it didn’t match the books at all )
I got choked up and teary-eyed just THINKING about the scene when Jack died. God, what fantastic books. And yes, I believe they were probably the first “real” books I ever read--and I KNOW they’re the reason I love historical novels so, so much. Thanks, Christina!
I remember my mom reading me the Little House books when I was too little to read chapter books. She always was trying to get me to appreciate electricity/running water etc..
The books that I first read were the ones from scholastic that you bought from school. Mostly odds and ends type.
I guess in 3rd or 4th grade I started to love reading. I distinctly remember that my fourth grade teacher read The Boxcar Children to us every day for a few minutes and much more on Fridays, it was a treat! So much so that I bought them for my daughter to read also.
Then I read Trixie Beldon. I loved them. I have been reading them to my daughter also.
I absolutely LOVED Anne of Green Gables series. Where I grew up the library didn’t have all the series and I lived in nowherevile and couldn’t get them, so when I married and moved to a bigger area, I got to read the entire series back to back over a couple of weeks. By the last book, I was SOO done. Too much war, etc. in them. So apart from the last book (which I had to read to finish the series) I love Anne and especially GIlbert and I also loved the movie series, I know it deviated a little but most of the first movie was almost exactly word for word in parts.