Recently my mom mentioned that she still has my boxed set of Little House on the Prairie books, and noted that soon I'd be able to begin reading them to Jo.
I can't wait! When I was 8 or 9 (and probably 10 or 12 too) I'd start with Little House in the Big Woods and continue right through to The First Four Years without stopping. Then I'd go back to the Big Woods and start all over again. My set came in a yellow cardboard box and all the spines of the books were yellow too, with cover art and interior illustrations by Garth Williams. The set looked so impressive there on my bookshelf.
I remember watching the TV show, too, but it was the books that really enthralled me. I even got to visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home & Museum. I still remember I had a souvenir mug that I took to school for show and tell. I wrapped it carefully in a dishtowel for the walk, but I still dropped and broke it--a terrible loss.
There are legitimate concerns about the depictions of Native Americans in the books. I hope that I can use them to start discussions about racism and the way people feel about those who are different. I still believe that the books are an incredible window into American history. And they are a pleasure to read, which is more than I can say for many of the other books I slog through for the sake of my kids (Magic Tree House, anyone? For the love of god, Mary Pope Osborne ... you are writing for beginning readers. Why must you litter the page with sentence fragments?). I know I'll smile when I see that big yellow box on my daughter's bookshelf.
Inspired by today's blog blast on behalf of Highlights High Five (which I reviewed yesterday). Write your own post by midnight PST--that still gives you four hours!--for a chance to win a subscription to the magazine.