The First Four Years (Little House Series: Classic Stories #9)

( 19 )

Overview

Laura Ingalls Wilder is beginning life with her new husband, Almanzo, in their own little house. Laura is a young pioneer wife now, and must work hard with Almanzo, farming the land around their home on the South Dakota prairie. Soon their baby daughter, Rose, is born, and the young family must face the hardships and triumphs encountered by so many American pioneers.

And so Laura Ingalls Wilder's adventure as a little pioneer girl ends, and her new life as a pioneer wife and ...

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Overview

Laura Ingalls Wilder is beginning life with her new husband, Almanzo, in their own little house. Laura is a young pioneer wife now, and must work hard with Almanzo, farming the land around their home on the South Dakota prairie. Soon their baby daughter, Rose, is born, and the young family must face the hardships and triumphs encountered by so many American pioneers.

And so Laura Ingalls Wilder's adventure as a little pioneer girl ends, and her new life as a pioneer wife and mother begins. The nine Little House books have been cherished by generations of readers as both a unique glimpse into America's frontier past and a heartwarming, unforgettable story.

During their first four years of marriage, Laura and Almanzo Wilder have a child and fight a losing battle in their attempts to succeed at farming on the South Dakota prairie.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Sonya Goldman
Many parents and teachers are well acquainted with Laura, the high-spirited pioneer girl who moved by covered wagon with her family from a "Little House in the Big Woods" of Wisconsin to Oklahoma, Kansas, Minnesota, and finally the Dakota Territory in the late 1800's. Laura Ingalls wrote the original eight "Little House" books, as they are often called, for children. After her death, a manuscript she had written was found and published under the title The First Four Years. Today, it appears to be just another in the yellow-covered, paperback series from Harper. But The First Four Years is different. It is a very adult book. Mrs. Wilder did not have the opportunity to balance the bad with the good in the recounting of her early married life. From her doubts about farming and her husband's handling of their finances to the overwhelming tragedies of death, fire, ruined crops, and lurking Indians, there is little relief. Her courage and positive outlook struggle to be heard in this final book, but many of the consolations she had in her earlier stories don't appear. Pa never plays the fiddle, her sisters never visit, she doesn't sing or flirt or get the best of a bully. The First Four Years is an excellent book and well worth the read, but parents should be mindful of its more serious nature when selecting literature for younger children.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064400312
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/28/2008
  • Series: Little House Series , #9
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 605,714
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 1030L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.36 (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.

Garth Williams began his work on the pictures for the Little House books by meeting Laura Ingalls Wilder at her home in Missouri, and then he traveled to the sites of all the little houses. His charming art caused Laura to remark that she and her family "live again in these illustrations."

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

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 19 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    THE BEST BOOK EVER!!

    The first four years is about Laura Ingals a 19 girl who got married to Almazo Wilder. They had a child named Rose Wilder. Laura and Almanzo get very sick. Almanzo gets so sick that he was paralized for a little while. then on top of that their house burned down. If you want to finish the book you have to read it yourself. I recomend this book. I recomend this book because it is funny in some parts. And it is sad in some parts.

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  • Posted May 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Nice Series!

    I bought this book for myself since I love the Little House series. It was a fun book to read. I knew it would be an easy read for me, but nice to wind down my day with!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2005

    Very disappointing

    I read all the other books in the Little House on the Prairie books and enjoyed them very much. But I was very disappointed with the last one. I don't recommend reading and expecting the same as the other eight. Yes, her life was very different as a married lady, but it left me unfulfilled and upset. If you do read it, don't expect the greatest of her other eight.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2004

    good

    well i can say i did not enjoy this book as much as the last. but it was a fairly good book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2004

    I like long books.

    I like long books like the other books Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote like, On the Banks of Plum Creek, etc. But I have to say this is a fairly good book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2001

    Little House Books are the best books!

    This story shows the hard times of living on the prarie.Laura Ingalls Wilder is the best children's author that I have ever read.She tells of her life with such grace. Her former books were out of this world but for some reason this book flew by to fast.It starts out with her marriage to Almonzo Wilder and moves on to tell about her new daughter Rose and all the hardships that occured the first four years being married. If you haven't read the Little House books I encourage you to read them.Reading these books will stay with you forever.

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    Posted April 23, 2009

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    Posted October 26, 2008

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    Posted June 8, 2009

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