Little House in the Big Woods (Little House Series: Classic Stories #1)

( 73 )

Overview

Laura Ingalls's story begins in 1871 in a little log cabin on the edge of the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Four-year-old Laura lives in the little house with her Pa, her Ma, her sisters Mary and Carrie, and their trusty dog, Jack.

Pioneer life is sometimes hard, since the family must grow or catch all their own food as they get ready for the cold winter. But it is also exciting as Laura and her folks celebrate Christmas with homemade toys and treats, do the spring planting, bring in ...

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Overview

Laura Ingalls's story begins in 1871 in a little log cabin on the edge of the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Four-year-old Laura lives in the little house with her Pa, her Ma, her sisters Mary and Carrie, and their trusty dog, Jack.

Pioneer life is sometimes hard, since the family must grow or catch all their own food as they get ready for the cold winter. But it is also exciting as Laura and her folks celebrate Christmas with homemade toys and treats, do the spring planting, bring in the harvest, and make their first trip into town. And every night they are safe and warm in their little house, with the happy sound of Pa's fiddle sending Laura and her sisters off to sleep.

And so begins Laura Ingalls Wilder's beloved story of a pioneer girl and her family. 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.

A year in the life of two young girls growing up on the Wisconsin frontier, as they help their mother with the daily chores, enjoy their father's stories and singing, and share special occasions when they get together with relatives or neighbors.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064400015
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/28/2008
  • Series: Little House Series , #1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 28,091
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.51 (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

First Chapter

Little House in the Big Woods

Chapter One



Little House
In The Big Woods



0nce upon a time, sixty years ago, a little girl lived in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs.

The great, dark trees of the Big Woods stood all around the house, and beyond them were other trees and beyond them were more trees. As far as a man could go to the north in a day, or a week, or a whole month, there was nothing but woods. There were no houses.

There were no roads. There were no people. There were only trees and the wild animals who had their homes among them.

Wolves lived in the Big Woods, and bears, and huge wild cats. Muskrats and mink and otter lived by the streams. Foxes had dens in the hills and deer roamed everywhere.

To the east of the little log house, and to the west, there were miles upon miles of trees, and only a few little log houses scattered far apart in the edge of the Big Woods.

So far as the little girl could see, there was only the one little house where she lived with her father and mother, her sister Mary and baby sister Carrie. A wagon track ran before the house, turning and twisting out of sight in the woods where the wild animals lived, but the little girl did not know where it went, nor what might be at the end of it.

The little girl was named Laura and she called her father, Pa, and her mother, Ma. In those days and in that place, children did not say Father and Mother, nor Mamma and Papa, as they do now.

At night, when Laura lay awake in the trundle bed, she listened and could not hear anything at all but the sound of the trees whispering together. Sometimes, far away in the night, a wolf howled. Then he came nearer, and howled again.

It was a scary sound. Laura knew that wolves would eat little girls. But she was safe inside the solid log walls. Her father's gun hung over the door and good old Jack, the brindle bulldog, lay on guard before it. Her father would say:

"Go to sleep, Laura. Jack won't let the wolves in." So Laura snuggled under the covers of the trundle bed, close beside Mary, and went to sleep.

One night her father picked her up out of bed and carried her to the window so that she might see the wolves. There were two of them sitting in front of the house. They looked like shaggy dogs. They pointed their noses at the big, bright moon, and howled.

Jack paced up and down before the door, growling. The hair stood up along his back and he showed his sharp, fierce teeth to the wolves. They howled, but they could not get in.

The house was a comfortable house. Upstairs there was a large attic, pleasant to play in when the rain drummed on the roof Downstairs was the small bedroom, and the big room. The bedroom had a window that closed with a wooden shutter. The big room had two windows with glass in the panes, and it had two doors, a front door and a back door.

All around the house was a crooked rail fence, to keep the bears and the deer away.

In the yard in front of the house were two beautiful big oak trees. Every morning as soon as she was awake Laura ran to look out of the window, and one morning she saw in each of the big trees a dead deer hanging from a branch.

Pa had shot the deer the day before and Laura had been asleep when he brought them home at night and hung them high in the trees so the wolves could not get the meat.

That day Pa and Ma and Laura and Mary had fresh venison for dinner. It was so good that Laura wished they could eat it all. But most of the meat must be salted and smoked and packed away to be eaten in the winter.

For winter was coming. The days were shorter, and frost crawled up the window panes at night. Soon the snow would come. Then the log house would be almost buried in snowdrifts, and the lake and the streams would freeze. In the bitter cold weather Pa could not be sure of finding any wild game to shoot for meat.

The bears would be hidden away in their dens where they slept soundly all winter long. The squirrels would be curled in their nests in hollow trees, with their furry tails wrapped snugly around their noses. The deer and the rabbits would be shy and swift. Even if Pa could get a deer, it would be poor and thin, not fat and plump as deer are in the fall.

Pa might hunt alone all day in the bitter cold, in the Big Woods covered with snow, and come home at night with nothing for Ma and Mary and Laura to eat.

So as much food as possible must be stored away in the little house before winter came.

Pa skinned the deer carefully and salted and stretched the hides, for he would make soft leather of them. Then he cut up the meat, and sprinkled salt over the pieces as he laid them on a board.

Standing on end in the yard was a tall length cut from the trunk of a big hollow tree. Pa had driven nails inside as far as he could reach from each end. Then he stood it up, put a little roof over the top, and cut a little door on one side near the bottom. On the piece that he cut out he fastened leather hinges; then he fitted it into place, and that was the little door, with the bark still on it.

After the deer meat had been salted several days, Pa cut a hole near the end of each piece and put a string through it. Laura watched him do this , and then she watched him hang the meat on the nails in the hollow log.

Little House in the Big Woods. Copyright © by Laura Wilder. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 73 )
Rating Distribution

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(55)

4 Star

(15)

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(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 73 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 10, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    I like it.

    Hi. My name is Sam and I'm six. I like this book because it teaches us things that are good and that are bad so we don't do them. There are a few characters who cause trouble and I learn about life in a cabin. At night, Jack Frost creeps through and blows frost on the pictures at Christmas. You need to use all of the manners you have when you go to town. I listen to it at night and it helps me go to sleep. When we were traveling, I listened to it in the car and I like it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2007

    Little House in the Big Woods

    This novel is a sure joy to any child that loves to read and brings a warmth that is very hard to capture in many other stories. As i read, the book seemed as if it was glue in my hands. To stop reading was extremly difficult. The detail in the story makes you feel as If your there with the Ingalls Family. Word by word, step by step, if you were to travel back this book would be able to tell you how to preform everyday tasks as if someone was there with you. The story line alone was very entertaining and original. I highly recommand this book to young girls because the story will certianly amaze them.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2007

    Recommended by mom

    Get this - I read this book after my mom read it after her mom told her of her grandma's life on the fronteer in the west. This is a book that all children should read of the way America once was when there was something new to discover over every hill and mountain, as well as in every forest and in every field.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2000

    Learn about the pioneers in a very interesting way!

    If you like the pioneers, you should check out this book! It gets you going and once you're done with the book, you're ready to start the next book! CAUTION: DON'T READ THE OTHER BOOKS BEFORE YOU READ THIS ONE, OR ELSE THE STORY WILL BE SPOILED FOR YOU!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2013

    In 3rd grade I had this complete series read to me. Now I am sh

    In 3rd grade I had this complete series read to me. Now I am sharing it with my girls during Lit. lessons as we homeschool. I am so glad they are loving the story. My 7 year old has been reading it on her own and I read it to them for about 15 minutes so that my 6 year old gets the story also.

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  • Posted January 19, 2013

    Good Book! LIttle House in the Big Woods, the first in the Litt

    Good Book!

    LIttle House in the Big Woods, the first in the Little House series, covers a small portion of Laura's life from age 3.  You'll find the rest of her story in the other eight books:  Little House on the Prairie, On the Banks of Plum Creek, Farmer Boy, By the Shores of Silver Lake, Little Town on the Prairie, The Long Winter, These Happy Golden Years, and The First Four Years.  This charming book describes the life of a young pioneer girl and is inspirational and sweet.  I highly recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2011

    Fantastic Book!

    Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, is just the beginning of the Little House Series. This story is about Laura Ingalls herself, growing up in the 1870's. Laura's story takes place in the Big Woods in Wisconsin. Laura, her two sisters, Mary and Carrie, and her parents, ma and pa, all live together in a small log cabin. Throughout the story we learn about how Laura lived in this time, and what her family had to do to survive. This is a fantastic book to use with elementary students. As a teacher, I would definitely use this book in my classroom for grades second through fifth. I think it can work great with a variety of subjects. I would certainly use this book as a social studies lesson, so students can learn what life was like back in the 1870's. There are so many things students can learn about living on the frontier. While reading, students can compare and contrast Laura's life to their own life. Do they each have to work on the farm every day? Do they each have to make homemade gifts for Christmas? Do they each play outdoor games when they are done with working? Along with social studies, a science/cooking lesson can be used to learn how Laura's family made butter and cheese. I would also incorporate art into the lesson when students learn about handmade quilts and writing with a quill pen. Little House in the Big Woods is a great book that many students can enjoy. It is a wonderful book to use that can incorporate many subjects. I would also use this as a teaching book so students can see how far life has come for them.

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  • Posted August 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Book About the 1870's

    This book was about two children named Laura and Mary. Their father hunts for their food. Laura had brown hair, liked bear meat, had a doll and lived in the big woods.
    I liked this book because Laura is sweet, kind, beautiful and sensitive. Children should read this book because it is a non-fiction book that teaches you about what happened in the 1870's.

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  • Posted June 24, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    makes you want to sit by a fire and get cozy!!!

    This book was so interesting. I love how the book told you every thing that the Ingalls family did, like making cheese and cleaning. It was all so fascinating to see how they did things back then. I can`t wait to read the next books!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Always a Classic

    This are my favorite childrens books. I have the original set my grandmother bought me when I was 7 years old, and I am now reading "Little House in the Big Woods" to my 3 and 7 year old boys. I recommend these books to every parent and child to learn valuable lessons about life, as well as the history of the American frontier.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    It's a classic

    A great story - my 4 year old is enjoying it very much. A great way of illustrating that not everyone has always had lots of toys, TV, grocery stores, and that folks used to have to find, kill, and preserve their own food.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2010

    Little House Series

    I recommend parents to purchase these books for their children. My 8year old daughter absolutely loves these books. She can explain every detail of Laura Ingalls life. These books teaches children about life was during the 1800's. It's teaching them history and Laura Ingalls life.

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  • Posted January 11, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A Great Story About America's Favorite Pioneer Family!

    Little House in the Big Woods is a great story about life a long time ago. It teaches children what life was like back then and how hard farmers worked hard to live. It is a wonderful story that I have read many times and enjoyed very much. Little House in the Big Woods is a great story for anytime at all! Through the years I have spent much of my time reading all the Little House books I can find. My mother got me the first Little House book in when I was in first grade. I thought I wouldn't like the story much but the moment I read the first word I knew I had found a great book. Little House in the Big Woods inspired me to read more of the Little House books and I have enjoyed them all very much! I highly recommend this book to any one who can find it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2010

    wonderful book

    I loved this book as a child. After finishing it, I quickly gobbled up the entire series. It turned me into a reader for life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2010

    Classic reading

    Great book for middle-elementary age kids, classic for adults too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2009

    Stories I started reading at 7 and still re-read at 35....

    I started reading the Little House books when I was in 2nd grade. I suppose it helped that one of the most popular shows on TV was "Little House on the Prarie" and that my name was Laura too. From the day I found out that I was going to have a niece, I've anticipated the day that I could buy this set of books for her. She has just turned 8 and I am here to buy "Little House in the Big Woods" as a Christmas present. To me, these stories are timeless, but I wonder if kids of today with their video games and Hannah Montana will appreciate something from the past? Additionally, my mom was interested in history and as a result exposed me to history. I am concerned that because my brother and sister-in-law are not interested in history, that my niece will not appreciate these books. I am going to buy it regardless, but I am wondering do I buy the hardcover that she can keep forever and pass it down to her daughter or do I buy a softcover...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2009

    Very Very Good For Kids to Read

    I think that this book is a good book for readers that are starting to read chapter books because it has a good story. It has great illustrations and they are in color too.

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  • Posted July 18, 2009

    Great adventure and realistic fiction

    I am a professor who teaches Children's Literature and this book, along with the entire series, is always featured in my exhibit of well-written realistic fiction. Young readers find it adventurous as well as curious to learn the ways of life for people during that time of US history and growth. It is a good book for teachers too in that it can be used in both the literature and social studies disciplines. Great read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    This was fun to read and interesting.

    My book I read was called Little House In The Big Woods by Laura Ingles Wilder. Laura Ingles was born in1871. She lived in the big woods with her ma, pa, and her sisters Mary and baby Carrie. There house was gray and built of logs. Pa hunts and traps animals while ma churns butter. In the evening pa would tell stories and chase them around. They love when pa would act it out at the same time they were very scared. Mary, Laura, and baby Carrie have never been to town before. One day pa took them as well as ma. Pa let them pick out pretty rocks to take back home with them. Laura got too many and her pocket ripped and the rocks went everywhere. Laura begins to cry ma said she could fix it though. My favorite part of this book was when there cousin comes to their house his name is Charley and has to help pa and Uncle Henry work in the field. Well he got in the way so they told him to go back to the house. Charley kept on screaming for help when Uncle Henry and pa would come Charley would laugh. The third time he screamed he really was in trouble but they thought it was a joke again. Charley had stepped on a bee nest and was getting stung all over. So pa and Uncle Henry ran over there and got all of the bees out of his pants and shirt and told him to go back to the house so ma rapped him all up and told he put him in bed. I recommend this book to anyone that likes prairie books and what they did back in the older days. I would also give this book four stars because it has a cozy warm feeling to it and it¿s a great book to read.

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  • Posted October 17, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Very Amazing Book

    I read this book as a child and look forward to reading it to my daughter. It was a very good book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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