Christmas Stories (Little House Chapter Book Series: The Laura Years #10)

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Overview

Gentle adaptations of Laura Ingalls Wilder's celebrated Little House stories have been gathered together here in two new titles in our Little House Chapter Book series. In Christmas Stories, join Laura and her family for some pioneer Christmas celebrations. Christmas on the frontier means visits from friends, good things to eat, and presents! For Laura, every Christmas in the little house is better than the one before. Laura and her friends share wonderful adventures in Little House Friends. From racing ponies ...

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Overview

Gentle adaptations of Laura Ingalls Wilder's celebrated Little House stories have been gathered together here in two new titles in our Little House Chapter Book series. In Christmas Stories, join Laura and her family for some pioneer Christmas celebrations. Christmas on the frontier means visits from friends, good things to eat, and presents! For Laura, every Christmas in the little house is better than the one before. Laura and her friends share wonderful adventures in Little House Friends. From racing ponies with cousin Lena to bobsled rides with Cap Garland and the gang, Laura loves spending time with her friends. Even mean old Nellie Oleson can't spoil Laura's fun!With simple text, entertaining stories, and Renee Graef's beautiful black-and-white artwork, Little House Chapter Books are the perfect way to introduce beginning chapter-book readers to the world of Little House.

Laura Ingalls and her family celebrate several joyous Christmases on the western frontier.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Adapted from the original Little House stories, these selections span several years when the girls lived in the Big Woods, on the prairie and several other places. They stand up well in this format and perhaps kids will be intrigued enough to read the full text of some of the books excerpted here. The black-and-white sketches are delightful. Part of the "Little House Chapter Book" series.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064420815
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/28/1999
  • Series: Little House Series: The Laura Years , #10
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 272,145
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in 1867 in the log cabin described in Little House in the Big Woods. She and her family traveled by covered wagon across the Midwest. Later, Laura and her husband, Almanzo Wilder, made their own covered-wagon trip with their daughter, Rose, to Mansfield, Missouri. There, believing in the importance of knowing where you began in order to appreciate how far you've come, Laura wrote about her childhood growing up on the American frontier. For millions of readers Laura lives on forever as the little pioneer girl in the beloved Little House books.

Renée Graef received her bachelor's degree in art from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She is the illustrator of numerous titles in the Little House publishing program, as well as Rodgers and Hammerstein's My Favorite Things and E.T.A Hoffman's The Nutcracker, adapted by Janet Schulman. She lives in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, with her husband and two children.

Biography

"I wanted the children now to understand more about the beginnings of things, to know what is behind the things they see -- what it is that made America as they know it," Laura Ingalls Wilder once said. Wilder was born in 1867, more than 60 years before she began writing her autobiographical fiction, and had witnessed the transformation of the American frontier from a barely populated patchwork of homestead lots to a bustling society of towns, trains and telephones.

Early pictures of Laura Ingalls show a young woman in a buttoned, stiff-collared dress, but there's nothing prim or quaint about the childhood she memorialized in her Little House books. Along with the expected privations of prairie life, the Ingalls family faced droughts, fires, blizzards, bears and grasshopper plagues. Although she didn't graduate from high school, Wilder had enough schooling to get a teaching license, and took her first teaching job at the age of 15.

Later, Wilder and her husband settled on a farm in the Missouri Ozarks, where Wilder began writing about farm life for newspapers and magazines. She didn't try her hand at books until 1930, when she started chronicling her childhood at the urging of her daughter Rose. Her first effort at an autobiography, Pioneer Girl, failed to find a publisher, but it spurred a second effort, a set of eight "historical novels," as Wilder called them, based on her own life.

Little House in the Big Woods (1932) was an instant hit. It was followed by a new volume every two years or so, and the series' success snowballed until thousands of fans were waiting eagerly for each new installment. "Ms. Wilder has caught the very essence of pioneer life, the satisfaction of hard work, the thrill of accomplishment, safety and comfort made possible through resourcefulness and exertion," said the New York Times review of Little House on the Prairie (1935).

In 1954, the American Library Association established the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award to honor the lifetime achievement of a children's author or illustrator; Wilder herself was the first recipient. After Wilder's death in 1957, historical societies sprang up to preserve what they could of her childhood homes, and her manuscripts and journals provided the material for several more books. A TV series based on the books, Little House on the Prairie, ran from 1974 to 1984 and renewed interest in Wilder's work and life. More recently, fictionalized biographies of her daughter, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother have appeared.

Wilder's books have now been translated into over 40 languages, and still provide an engrossing history lesson for young readers, as well as insight into the frontier values that Wilder once catalogued as "courage, self-reliance, independence, integrity and helpfulness" -- values, in her words, worth "as much today as they ever were to help us over the rough places."

Good To Know

Wilder's daughter, the writer Rose Wilder Lane, helped revise her mother's books; the collaboration was so extensive that one biographer proposed Rose was the "real" author of the Little House books. Most agree that Rose was, if not author or co-author, instrumental in suggesting the project to her mother and shaping it for publication.

After her books were published, fan mail for Wilder poured in; among more than a thousand cards and gifts she received for her birthday in 1951 was a cablegram of congratulations from General Douglas MacArthur.

Wilder, who had grown up making long journeys by covered wagon, took her first airplane ride at the age of 87, on a visit to Rose in Danbury, Connecticut.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Mrs. A.J. Wilder
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 7, 1867
    2. Place of Birth:
      Pepin, Wisconsin
    1. Date of Death:
      February 10, 1957
    2. Place of Death:
      Mansfield, Missouri

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Christmas in the Big Woods

Christmas was coming to the Big Woods of Wisconsin where Laura lived with her Pa and Ma, her older sister Mary, and her baby sister Carrie. Their little log house was almost buried in snow. In the morning when Pa opened the door, there was a wall of show as high as Laura's head.

The days were clear and bright, but it was too cold to play outside. Laura and Mary stood on chairs and looked out the window. Great big icicles hung from the roof of the little log house. The icicles were as fat as the top of Laura's arm. The sunlight made them shine like glass.

At the end of every day, Pa came in from the cold with white frost on his mustache and beard. He stamped the snow from his boots and caught Laura up in a bear's hug against his big, cold coat.

Every night, Pa was busy.He was making a Christmas present for Ma.

Pa took one big piece of wood and two small pieces and whittled them with his knife. He rubbed them with sandpaper and with the palm of his hand. When Laura touched them, they felt soft and smooth as silk.

Then Pa took his knife and carved beautiful shapes, into the pieces of wood. He cut holes in the shapes of windows, little stars, moons, and circles. All around them, he carved tiny leaves and flowers and birds. When he was finished carving, he put all the pieces of wood together.

Pa had made a shelf for Ma. He hung it carefully on the log wall between the two windows. Ma placed her little china woman on the shelf.

The little china woman had a china bonnet on her head. China curls hung against her china neck. She wore a pale pink china apron over her chinadress. And she wore little golden china shoes. She looked beautiful standing on the shelf Pa had made.

Every day, Ma was busy too. She was making good things to eat for Christmas. She baked bread and Swedish crackers. She cooked a huge pan of baked beans with salt pork and molasses. She made pies, and she filled a big jar with cookies. She let Laura and Mary lick the cake spoon.

One morning Ma boiled molasses and sugar together until they made a thick syrup. Pa brought in two pans of clean white snow from outdoors. Laura and Mary each had a pan. Pa and Ma showed them how to pour the dark syrup in little streams onto the snow.

Laura and Mary made circles, and curlicues, and squigglely things with the dark syrup. The shapes became hard and were candy. Ma said that Laura and Mary could eat one piece each. The rest must be saved for Christmas.

Ma was doing all this cooking because Aunt Eliza and Uncle Peter and the cousins, Peter and Alice and Ella, we're coming for Christmas.

Laura couldn't wait to see her cousins. She always played with Mary because Mary was her big sister and Carrie was too little to play with yet. And her cousins lived too far away to visit every day.

Laura liked playing with Mary most of the time. But Mary liked to play quiet games and Laura liked to run and jump and shout. Laura's cousins liked to run and jump and shout too.

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