Friday, March 07, 2008

Blast me back to the pioneer days

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.

10 comments:

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

In 2nd grade a friend and I read through the entire series. She'd get one book from the school library and I'd get another, and we'd agree each day how many chapters we'd read, and then we'd talk about what we read.

I read a little of House in the Big Woods to my son; he wasn't that into it -- too young I think -- but it was SO FUN for me to re-read!

kirida said...

I would have loved to have visited that museum! I was driving cross-country with my then-boyfriend and he didn't want to stop there! I should have broken up with him on the spot and hitched my way home.

Mom101 said...

Oh my goooooood I loved those! Don't remember anything about racism but then, I was 8. I didn't realize the Narnia books were religious allegories either. Stupid third graders.

Alex Elliot said...

My husband loved those books too. I remember reading them and liking them.

Heather said...

I remember reading those books fondly as well.

motherbumper said...

I had inherited the same box set from my sister and what I'd do to live back in those days. Definetely will reread with B, and thanks for the heads up - don't remember the racism but not surprised - great conversation starter. (and sorry 'bout the mug).

onangelwings said...

Ahhhh just like you my Little House Books in the little yellow cardboard box were my prized possessions and I still have it. My daughter is only going on 3 and way too young for the books but we have watched LHOTP together. I sat with her on my lap as a tear rolled down my face just thinking how awesome it was to be sharing something from my childhood with her.

I gave the books to my honorary niece for Christmas last year she was 8 and they scared her a bit with Pa going out to shot something for dinner. Oh well I tried to share.

Jennifer said...

Ah, I've been wanting to re-read the series. I hope when my son is older he will be interested.

Lady M said...

I loved the Little House books! My mom made me a bonnet that I wore for dress-up all the time.

Kimberly said...

I loved the Little House books! I have such great memories of curling up with my Holly Hobby doll and reading them to her.