Customer Reviews: On the Banks of Plum Creek (Little House)
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on February 7, 2005
As a thirty one year old man, I don't suppose I'm the target audience for the "Little House on the Prairie" series. But after reading this book on a whim, I have to say that I'm hooked.

Laura Ingalls and her family eke out a difficult living on the plains of Minnesota during the time of pioneers and native americans. They are a tightknit family focused on doing the right thing, but their closeness and morality are severely challenged by the harshness of prairie life. They battle floods, drought, fires, blizzards, and insect infestations, all while trying to earn enough money to work toward a better life. Laura and her sister Mary have their first experiences with church and with school, and have to try to fit in as country bumpkins among more street-smart peers (most notably the obnoxious and relatively rich Nellie Oleson).

I found this book to be very charming. The unrelenting goodness of the entire Ingalls family is a bit tiresome at times, but the unflagging earnestness with which it is portrayed won me over, and I soon found myself completely invested in their happiness. The fact that they are happy with so little is refreshing, especially when viewed against the backdrop of modern times. The fact that it took place so long ago, and in such a harsh setting, actually made the good-hearted characters seem more believable.

But what really sells this book is the authentic portrayal of the way of life that the Ingalls' live. Living in a dugout by a creek, cutting the grass to make hay, and knitting clothes during long and dreary days; the book's colorful details make a practically-extinct lifestyle come alive. In particular, the way that the Ingalls must observe nature and learn to live within the context of it's rhythms and cycles was very interesting.

I watched the television show occasionally, and am surprised that this book is the first mention of Nellie Oleson, or the titular house, or some of the other storylines that were such staples on the show. I look forward to reading the other books and learning more about the elements that were not so prominently displayed.

One warning that I have is to avoid reading the back cover of the book. In six short sentences, it manages to spoil the single biggest plot twist in the book, which doesn't come until 200 pages in. Just pick it up and start reading, and you'll be happier for it.

Usually when I review children's books, I struggle with how to address elements that parents may not want to expose their children to. But in this case, happily, there's no conflict. Everything is not only G-rated, but blissfully so.
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on May 9, 2002
This book is both joyful and heartbreaking. As a child I spent hours acting out the story with my dolls...the oxen, the horses named Sam and David, the little church in town, the nice girls and the snobby girls in school, the flags and rushes on the creek, the horrible grasshoppers and Pa's being away for so long while he went to find work....This is a very detailed, gripping story that really makes time fly. I loved it best of all the books in the series, and I really liked them all!
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In this next book in the landmark "Little House" series, the Ingalls family decide to leave their farm by Plum Creek to find a new homestead on the prairie. The grasshoppers and poor crops in Minnesota were a little too much for them. In addition, some bad times appear for the Ingalls family in the time period between this and the previous book in the series. The whole family had been stricken with scarlet fever and the oldest daughter, Mary, is now blind because of it. In addition, although it is never mentioned in the books, Laura had a little baby brother at this time (Charles Frederic, "Freddy") who died before his first birthday (1875-1876). And, a new baby sister has been added to the family, Grace Pearl Ingalls (1877-1941). Laura's father gets a job acting as a storekeeper for the Chicago and North Western Railroad who are laying tracks through the Dakota terretory. While working for them, he finds a new homestead on the prairie and brings the rest of his family out. There is concern as to whether he will be able to file his claim on time; but, he does. The Ingalls family are among the first to live near the new town of De Smet, South Dakota (although South Dakota doesn't become a state until 1889). The time frame of this book is 1879-1880 and Laura Elizabeth Ingalls is 12-13 years old. The book was a 1940 Newbery Honor Book (that is, a runner-up to the Medal winner) for best contribution to American children's literature. And, it deserved it! Near the end of the book, Laura gets her first glimpse at the boy who will later become her husband, Almanzo Wilder.
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on August 25, 2000
Laura Ingalls Wilder described to us what we never would see--the building of railroads and towns right before her eyes. Her ability to describe makes you see the railroad being built in your own mind. This book really captures the emotions of growing up. From losing Jack, the brindle bulldog, to Mary's blindness to the hardships of no money. Laura struggles with the longing of wanting to keep going west but knows it can never happen. By being able to stay in the Surveyors House, they do not have to go back east but stay as far in the west as Laura feels she'll always be. The part where Carrie and Laura follow the moonbeam, while skating on the ice, made me appreciate the long cold winters here in the North. She appreciated all things wild and saw the beauty in the night. When they moved to the homestead, you could feel the heartache of knowing that was it for traveling in the wagon. You can feel the boredom in Laura while she is with Lena. Not that Lena was boring to Laura, but Laura saw Lena as someone who had so much freedom and would always be following the railroad while Laura would always be right where she is at. Little did Laura know that when she saw the beautiful brown Morgan horses, they and the young man driving them, would be her future.
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on January 4, 2000
No one can really explain the hardships and wonders of movingwest in the 1800s, or what it was like.After reading all the LittleHouse books I find this one the best one of the series. The books takes on from the previous book(Little House On The Parrie), as the Ingall's family moves out to Minnisota, where they buy land and a place called home. There home is very near Plum Creek and three miles to town. As they lived together, they face fears, hope, blizzards and locus,and learn that disasters won't destroy them. This story grabed me and made me go into the book and made me expierenced the story with them.
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on August 19, 2001
I liked the book because it was interesting the way Laura described everything to Mary because she was blind. I liked when Laura went horseback riding. It sounded fun. My Mom read these books when she was young and back then this was her least favorite when when she re-read it as an adult she found it much more interesting. Now she is reading the series to me. It was sad when Jack died. I cried because I liked Jack. Pa said he would go to dog heaven. Mom's favorite part of the book was when the family lived in the surveyor's house for the winter and they had a nice Christmas with the Boasts, and she liked the part when the family learned about the blind college, and they had hope that Mary could one day go there.
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on June 16, 2005
The title of the book I read is On the Banks fo Plum Creek by Laura Ingals Wilder. This book is about Laura Ingalls as she is growing up on the prairie. In this book, Laura and her family travel from Indian Territories to Minnesota in a covered wagon. They settle in a dugout on the banks of Plum Creek. Pa plants a wheat crop and builds a pine board house. He plans to pay back the money for the wood when he sells the wheat. As Pa is ready to harvest the wheat, a terrible thing happens. A huge swarm of hungry locusts comes and eats the wheat. Pa must go away out East to find work and to get money for food, supplies, and to pay back the house. Laura cares about her family and worries a lot about Pa when he is away. Will Pa come home safely? Will they be able to stay at Plum Creek, or will they have to move west?

The characters in this book were interesting and believable. The characters I thought were the most interesting and believable were Laura Ingalls and Nellie Olsen. Laura is the narrator of the story. She is eight years old and when you read this book you will see the story through Laura's eyes. She is likeable because she is nice and not rude, and she cares about her family. She is believable because she behaves well, but is also naughty sometimes. Nellie Olsen is mean, rude, and selfish to Laura and Mary, Laura's sister. Nellie is a believable character because I have met people like her. I thought the characters in the book were interesting and believable.

Laura Ingalls Wilder is a good writer because she is very descriptive and she uses strong words to create images. She makes the descriptions very concrete, but she doesn't make them so detailed they become boring. For example, Moby Dick had way too much detail. Snore (ZZZZ). The author of the book uses strong words to create images. For example, when Laura was near drowning, "The water roared loud and tugged at her stronger and stronger. Laura kicked but the water was stronger than her legs." I felt scared because I thought Laura would be pulled into the raging waters and nobody would know. The author makes the story perfect to read because she has just the right amount of description and the images pop out of the page.

I like this book because it is a fun and exciting story, the characters are good, and the writing is perfect. The story has characters that are interesting and believable. The style of this book is spectacular. The descriptions are concrete, but not boring. Mrs. Wilder uses strong words to make the story come alive and create feeling and mental images. I would recommend this book to girls seven and up because it is a story about girls. Not many boys would like it. However, it is a hard read because there are difficult words in it. For example, "leech" means bloodsucker. I would rate this book five stars. I would recommend this book because it is a fun and exciting story, the characters are good and the writing is perfect.
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on October 27, 2015
While on a road trip with my mother, sister, and niece to various Ingall's family sites in the midwest, we listened to most of the Little House books on CD. We loved them. We thought my niece might balk a bit at not listening to music, but we were all drawn in to the stories and the books provided hours of entertainment. Cherry Jones is an excellent narrator and does a pitch perfect job. I wish these were available via Audible, too, so I didn't have to deal with the physical media.
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on January 22, 2002
Laura and her family have moved to a small farm near Walnut Grove in Minnesota. They will have to adapt to Minnesota, the sod house, and a lot more. Laura Ingalls is a seven year old girl who loves to explore the creek, and is daddies little angel. Laura lives with her Ma, Pa , her two sisters Marry and Carrie, and their loyal companion and bulldog Jack. Pa goes out to get lumber and builds a beautiful new house with windows and he farms wheat to earn money. One day Pa said that in a couple weeks the wheat would soon be ready to pick. Then they see this peculiar sparkling cloud that filled the sky. Shortly after countless numbers of grasshoppers cover the field, the creek, and the rest of the farm, including Laura and her family. The grasshoppers consumed every plant including the wheat that Pa worked so hard to grow.
Mary and Laura start to go to school and on their first day they met many friends and some foes. one of their rivals was named Nellie who had a party and invited all the girls from school. Nellie was very rude and very cruel to Mary and Laura. Laura decided to have a party as well, and invited all the girls from school. Laura invites Nellie particulary to get back at her, and boy did she do a clever and a funny prank on Nellie. Then the Ingalls experienced blizzards, storms, and prairie fires which were very devastating. After all the work the family put into the farm and the wheat, their work finally payed off.
This book had lots of surprising, unpredictable, and very exciting events. If I could rate this book on a scale of one through ten, I would give this book a ten. Once I started to read this book I couldn't put it down, because I was so hooked on it. This book is fantastic and is great for every age, and great for every age, and should be enjoyed by everyone. If your looking for a great book that will excite, delight, suprise, and grasp your attention, On the Banks of Plum Creek is just the book your looking for.
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on January 22, 2014
My children and I have been listening to the Audio versions of the Little house books because there is never enough time and you might as well do something useful like listen to a book while riding in the car. This is a wonderful book. I love to hear how they cherish all the little moments they shared together even though sometimes people were scared of what would happen next. They were so brave and so different from the people of this time. The beginning of this book, however is very sad. You can feel it from the moment you start listening that something is coming. I hope that all kinds of different people will listen to these stories because it really is important to know where you came from. All of our ancestors worked very hard for us to be here no matter who we are. Very GOOD!
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