Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Little House in the Big Woods

Little House in the Big Woods

Laura Ingalls Wilder
Illustrator:   Garth Williams 
Nonfiction  Series
For ages 8 and up
HarperCollins, 1971   ISBN: 978-0064400015

Laura is a little girl who lives in a log cabin in the woods of Wisconsin with her Ma, Pa, her sisters Mary and Carrie, and the brindled bulldog Jack. The family is so isolated that Laura has never seen a town, and she rarely gets to play with other children, but she loves her life and enjoys all the new activities that come with the changing seasons.

With Laura we are going to see what it would have been like to live in the north woods in the late 1800’s. We are going to share the special events that mark the year; Christmas, Laura’s birthday, cheese making time, maple sugar time, harvest time and more. We are going to laugh at Pa’s wonderful stories, and sympathize with Laura when she is punished for being a naughty girl on a Sunday. We are going to discover what it must have felt like to see a town for the first time when Laura and her family go to the lake town of Pepin, and we are going to feel a sense of loss when Pa decides that it is time to leave the Big Woods.

This first title in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s famous autobiographical books, will get readers of all ages well and truly hooked on the Little House series. Readers will long to know what happens next to this hardworking and loving family. Children will be amazed to read about how people like the Ingalls family had to manage with what they were able to grow, make, or hunt. They will be fascinated to read about how people in Laura’s world made their own cheese, got their “everyday” sugar from maple trees, and how children were not allowed to play or shout on Sundays.

Garth Williams has created some wonderful black and white illustrations for this book, which capture the essence of Laura’s north woods life, and which give the reader a real sense of what it might have been like to live in a tiny cabin in an enormous forest.