Little House Christmas Treasury: Festive Holiday Stories (Little House Series)

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Celebrate the holidays with Laura and her family with stories from the beloved Little House books!

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Overview

Celebrate the holidays with Laura and her family with stories from the beloved Little House books!

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Editorial Reviews

Discovery Girls Magazine
“Each holiday recollection is like a gift, wrapped in joy and tenderness.”
Discovery Girls Magazine
“Each holiday recollection is like a gift, wrapped in joy and tenderness.”
Children's Literature
This keepsake volume contains Christmas stories and scenes from six of the Laura Ingalls Wilder "Little House" series so beloved by families. Here is Mr. Edwards crossing a raging river with Laura and Mary's presents on top of his head to keep them dry. And there is the wonderful Christmas when a church in the east sends a Christmas box full of gently worn hand-me-downs and Laura receives a fur cape and muff. Contrast this with Almanzo's more lavish Christmas on his New York farm when he woke his parents at 3:30 in the morning by mistake. The Garth Williams illustrations are gently tinted and holiday reds and greens separate each section and include a small introduction to help children piece together the entire series of book excerpts. Readers will note the modest customs of a prairie family and the unusual language of a bygone era, such as a "sober" Laura and the arrival of a much-hoped for piece of clothing, a "fascinator." The excerpts are a fine introduction to the series without preempting the power of any of the entire books. 2005, HarperCollins, Ages 7 to 12.
—Susan Hepler, Ph.D.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060769185
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/27/2005
  • Series: Little House Series
  • Pages: 144
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Laura Ingalls Wilder

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

Read an Excerpt

A Little House Christmas Treasury

Festive Holiday Stories
By Laura Wilder

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2005 Laura Wilder
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060769181

Christmas

Christmas was coming.

The little log house was almost buried in snow. Great drifts were banked against the walls and windows, and in the morning when Pa opened the door, there was a wall of snow as high as Laura's head. Pa took the shovel and shoveled it away, and then he shoveled a path to the barn, where the horses and the cows were snug and warm in their stalls.

The days were clear and bright. Laura and Mary stood on chairs by the window and looked out across the glittering snow at the glittering trees. Snow was piled all along their bare, dark branches, and it sparkled in the sunshine. Icicles hung from the eaves of the house to the snowbanks, greaticicles as large at the top as Laura's arm. They were like glass and full of sharp lights.

Pa's breath hung in the air like smoke, when he came along the path from the barn. He breathed it out in clouds and it froze in white frost on his mustache and beard.

When he came in, stamping the snow from his boots, and caught Laura up in a bear's hug against his cold, big coat, his mustache was beaded with little drops of melting frost.

Every night he was busy, working on a large piece of board and two small pieces. He whittled them with his knife, he rubbed them with sandpaper and with the palm of his hand, until when Laura touched them they felt soft and smooth as silk. Then with his sharp jack-knife he worked at them, cutting the edges of the large one into little peaks and towers, with a large star carved on the very tallest point. He cut little holes through the wood. He cut the holes in shapes of windows, and little stars, and crescent moons, and circles. All around them he carved tiny leaves, and flowers, and birds.

One of the little boards he shaped in a lovely curve, and around its edges he carved leaves and flowers and stars, and through it he cut crescent moons and curlicues.

Around the edges of the smallest board he carved a tiny flowering vine.

He made the tiniest shavings, cutting very slowly and carefully, making whatever he thought would be pretty.

At last he had the pieces finished and one night he fitted them together. When this was done, the large piece was a beautifully carved back for a smooth little shelf across its middle. The large star was at the very top of it. The curved piece supported the shelf underneath, and it was carved beautifully, too. And the little vine ran around the edge of the shelf.

Pa had made this bracket for a Christmas present for Ma. He hung it carefully against the log wall between the windows, and Ma stood her little china woman on the shelf.

The little china woman had a china bonnet on her head, and china curls hung against her china neck. Her china dress was laced across in front, and she wore a pale pink china apron and little gilt china shoes. She was beautiful, standing on the shelf with flowers and leaves and birds and moons carved all around her, and the large star at the very top.

Ma was busy all day long, cooking good things for Christmas. She baked salt-rising bread and rye'n'Injun bread, and Swedish crackers, and a huge pan of baked beans, with salt pork and molasses. She baked vinegar pies and dried-apple pies, and filled a big jar with cookies, and she let Laura and Mary lick the cake spoon.

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

They made circles, and curlicues, and squiggledy things, and these hardened at once and were candy. Laura and Mary might eat one piece each, but the rest was saved for Christmas Day.

All this was done because Aunt Eliza and Uncle Peter and the cousins, Peter and Alice and Ella, were coming to spend Christmas.

The day before Christmas they came. Laura and Mary heard the gay ringing of sleigh bells, growing louder every moment, and then the big bobsled came out of the woods and drove up to the gate. Aunt Eliza and Uncle Peter and the cousins were in it, all covered up, under blankets and robes and buffalo skins.

They were wrapped up in so many coats and mufflers and veils and shawls that they looked like big, shapeless bundles.

When they all came in, the little house was full and running over. Black Susan ran out and hid in the barn, but Jack leaped in circles through the snow, barking as though he would never stop. Now there were cousins to play with!

As soon as Aunt Eliza had unwrapped them, Peter and Alice and Ella and Laura and Mary began to run and shout. At last Aunt Eliza told them to be quiet. Then Alice said:

"I'll tell you what let's do. Let's make pictures."

Alice said they must go outdoors to do it, and Ma thought it was too cold for Laura to play outdoors. But when she saw how disappointed Laura was, she said she might go, after all, for a little while. She put on Laura's coat and mittens and the warm cape with the hood, and wrapped a muffler around her neck, and let her go.

Laura had never had so much fun. All morning she played outdoors in the snow with Alice and Ella and Peter and Mary, making pictures. The way they did it was this...

Continues...


Excerpted from A Little House Christmas Treasury by Laura Wilder Copyright © 2005 by Laura Wilder. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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