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A Little House Collection: The First Five Novels Hardcover – October 3, 2006
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About the Author
Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867–1957) was born in a log cabin in the Wisconsin woods. With her family, she pioneered throughout America’s heartland during the 1870s and 1880s, finally settling in Dakota Territory. She married Almanzo Wilder in 1885; their only daughter, Rose, was born the following year. The Wilders moved to Rocky Ridge Farm at Mansfield, Missouri, in 1894, where they established a permanent home. After years of farming, Laura wrote the first of her beloved Little House books in 1932. The nine Little House books are international classics. Her writings live on into the twenty-first century as America’s quintessential pioneer story.
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These are excellent stories for intelligent boys and girls because, among other things, they explain how things work, how life was conducted without benefit of electricity or almost all the comforts of modern life we take for granted--imagine camping on a permanent basis--and how a family with next to nothing by our standards is still full of joy and love.
Laura Ingalls Wilders' writing is brilliantly spare with no-nonsense descriptions, and Garth Williams' drawings are simple yet immensely helpful. Not only do I recommend these highly, I'd go so far as to say that our society would be better off if these were read to every American child growing up today.
Postscript: Why the first five in a collection? Four of them concern Laura Ingalls as a child, one is about her future husband, Almanzo Wilder, as a boy. They are told mostly from the perspective of a child and retain an innocence. In the sixth book, The Long Winter, Laura is in her early teens, and the themes are certainly sober, even dark at times, as the book is a narrative of a winter in which the family very nearly starves. The remaining volumes deal with Laura as she struggles to obtain an education and teacher's certificate, starts courting and gets married, and has her own family. So there's a natural break between these first five and the rest.
The illustrations are somewhat sparse, but well done. The writing of course is unchanged from the original books. It's very nice to have them all in one large book, but I wish they had all been included - as of this time I'm unable to find a similar such collection for the remaining 4 books.
The text size is generous and the two column format is easy to read with kids clustered around.