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The First Four Years (Little House) Paperback – May 11, 2004

4.2 out of 5 stars 118 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The vast number of devotees of the earlier books will rejoice in [this] important sequel to "These Happy Golden Years.""-- "Horn Book" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

For the first time in the history of the Little House books, this new edition features Garth Williams’ interior art in vibrant, full color, as well as a beautifully redesigned cover.

Laura Ingalls Wilder is beginning life with her new husband, Almanzo, in their own little house. Laura is a young pioneer wife now, and must work hard with Almanzo, farming the land around their home on the South Dakota prairie. Soon their baby daughter, Rose, is born, and the young family must face the hardships and triumphs encountered by so many American pioneers.

And so Laura Ingalls Wilder's adventure as a little pioneer girl ends, and her new life as a pioneer wife and mother begins. 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.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Series: Little House (Book 9)
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (May 11, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060581883
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060581886
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,103,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on June 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a must for Laura diehards only. At any rate, perhaps those reading the stories to children younger than 8 or so should have second thoughts.

The book picks up just before the ending of "These Happy Golden Years," and describes Laura Ingalls' first four years married to her husband of over 60 years, Almanzo Wilder, who she here calls "Manly."

This is the only one of the original series which was not published during her lifetime, and not edited (some say co-written or ghost written) by her daughter Rose Wilder Lane, herself a best-selling author, and it shows.

The writing was not as bad as I was led to believe without Rose's hand, as the book was based on a diary Laura kept during her first married years. A close friend of Rose's, Roger Lea McBride, received this diary and saw to its publication after Rose's death. The book seems more like a story outline than a diary as such, and perhaps Laura intended it as a base for Rose to embellish, but this never happened.

I read this book in order with the others in the series with my 8-year-old daughter (we took an entire school year of evenings to finish). My daughter was annoyed by the fact that the descriptions of the events before Laura and Almanzo's wedding are not exactly like those in the earlier book, and she quickly picked up on the fact the book doesn't have the richness of description so important to enjoyment of the earlier works, especially for young girls.
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Format: Paperback
For those of you used to the sentimental (but still lovely) "Little House" books, from "Little House in the Big Woods" to "These Happy, Golden Years," you will find "The First Four Years" to have quite a different feel and tone. Whereas Laura wrote the first 8 books with major input from her journalist daughter Rose Wilder Lane, Laura wrote "The First Three Years and a Year of Grace" as a personal journal of sorts, separate from her major works which were written and published from 1932-1946. "The First Four Years" is more somber, a little heavier, and weighed with Laura and Manley's disapppointment over personal tradgedies such as losing every crop for 4 years due to drought or hail, losing their home to a fire, going into heavy debt, contracting a major illness that left Manley with a stroke and a disability, and finally losing a child just a few days old. This book was published in the 1970s, after the death of both Laura and Rose. A must-read for "Little House" fans, with the understanding that The Wilders had a hard life that Laura did not want to address much in her books. - Lori M. Sampso
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Format: Paperback
The Little House series is fantastic for readers of all ages. Laura Ingalls Wilder is a wonderful writer. It was her intention that the series end in the nice, neat little wrap-up she included in "These Happen Golden Years." However, this novel, "The First Four Years," was published after both Laura and her daughter Rose had died. And after reading the text, I can see why these pages were not really written to be published. Foremost, the book is too sad. None of the cheerful quips and passages that fill the other Little House books are included in this one. It is only a detailed account of all the incredible hardships the young couple faces. Second, the book contradicts parts of the other novels (in fact it starts with the same marriage proposal scene captured so sweetly in "Golden Years" only in this version, Laura initially says no because Almanzo is a farmer and she can't stand the idea of being a farmer's wife!) These are things to keep in mind before getting this book. Admittedly, it is interesting to know what happens next to Laura, but this book is not like the others. Be prepared.
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A Kid's Review on November 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
I really agree with the other reviews. This book is different from the others.

There is an introduction in the beginning of the book (by the person who personally knew Rose Wilder Lane and wrote the Rose books)that tells us that this book is different from the first books. It's because Laura never intended to publish it. Or maybe she did, but didn't get to. But anyhow, she did not edit it to be published.

I read another review that said that the voice of the whole book is different. I totally agree with that statement! It's not like Laura!

I think it's a good idea to make this book part of the set, however, because people want to know what happens after Almanzo and Laura get married.

This is my advice: Read the other books first!

-Gracie G., age 11
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A Kid's Review on February 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I love this book.Evan though I an only 10 my opinion is this book really and truly touches my heart.It brings bag good and sad memories.It is the last of her time.She and her husband Manly and Rose(her daughter)go through many hardships of their day.I love The First Four Years.I wish in a way I lived back then.I hope this review has helped you.
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