I may have been the only little girl to never have read the Little House on the Prairie series. They just didn't interest me. I loved The Babysitter's Club and The Boxcar Children. I was partial to Sweet Valley High, and adored the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books. I lived in the children's section of the bookstore, but I didn't ever gravitate towards Laura Ingalls Wilder. I saw her on the shelf, I may have even owned one of the books, but I never read her. At least not that I can remember.
So, for part of the reading challenge that I am doing, I chose Little House in the Big Woods (the first book of the series) to read for one of the tasks.
I flew through it. The easy language and the big font definitely helped with that, but there was also something comforting about it. I would read it before bed and fall asleep easily imagining this little quaint house in the woods with such sweet things happening inside. Of course, reading about pioneer life is romantic in the form of a children's book, and I imagine there was more not romantic about it than this book portrays. However, Wilder does describe some of what they had to do in the way of hunting animals, and cooking them and using their parts. A few paragraphs here and there had me making faces... I was not expecting them in this otherwise light, fluffy book. I tried to imagine what I would have thought reading those same passages as a child in the 1980's and I'm pretty sure I would have been a little upset with some serious questions for my mom. But I realize that this was first published in the early 1930's, and their way of life back then, albeit more modern than the woods, was not as far removed as we are today. This was a story of their grandparents (and possibly even parents). For me this was a story of a woman who was born over a 100 years before me and living in a time and situation that can almost not be replicated today.
I imagine I will finish this series, challenge or not. It will have to wait, but I do plan on putting these books on my to-read list. Because I really can't think of anything out there today that is such a wholesome and natural series for children. While it's antiquated, it is also unique and charming. And maybe my future daughters will not be interested in what it was like to live in a desolate area with only your family to rely on and nature to entertain you, and that's ok. Maybe it's a book they will have to wait until they're thirty and living in a city and a time where there are too many things happening all at once with everyone living on top of each other to appreciate the legacy this book holds.
The Coconut Librarian