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

4.7 88
by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Garth Williams (Illustrator), Morrell (Illustrator), Lefaivre

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Based on the real-life adventures of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House in the Big Woods is the first book in the award-winning Little House series, which has captivated generations of readers. This edition features the classic black-and-white artwork from Garth Williams.

Little House in the Big Woods takes place in 1871 and introduces us


Based on the real-life adventures of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House in the Big Woods is the first book in the award-winning Little House series, which has captivated generations of readers. This edition features the classic black-and-white artwork from Garth Williams.

Little House in the Big Woods takes place in 1871 and introduces us to four-year-old Laura, who lives in a log cabin on the edge of the Big Woods of Wisconsin. She shares the cabin with her Pa, her Ma, her sisters Mary and Carrie, and their lovable dog, Jack.

Pioneer life isn’t easy for the Ingalls family, since they must grow or catch all their own food as they get ready for the cold winter. But they make the best of every tough situation. They celebrate Christmas with homemade toys and treats, do their spring planting, bring in the harvest in the fall, and make their first trip into town. And every night, safe and warm in their little house, the sound of Pa’s fiddle lulls Laura and her sisters into sleep.

The nine books in the timeless Little House series tell the story of Laura’s real childhood as an American pioneer, and are cherished by readers of all generations. They offer a unique glimpse into life on the American frontier, and tell the heartwarming, unforgettable story of a loving family.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Little House Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.51(d)
930L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

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.

Meet the Author

Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867–1957) was born in a log cabin in the Wisconsin woods. With her family, she pioneered throughout America’s heartland during the 1870s and 1880s, finally settling in Dakota Territory. She married Almanzo Wilder in 1885; their only daughter, Rose, was born the following year. The Wilders moved to Rocky Ridge Farm at Mansfield, Missouri, in 1894, where they established a permanent home. After years of farming, Laura wrote the first of her beloved Little House books in 1932. The nine Little House books are international classics. Her writings live on into the twenty-first century as America’s quintessential pioneer story.

Garth Williams's classic illustrations for the Little House books caused Laura to remark that she "and her folks live again in these pictures." Garth Williams also illustrated Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, and almost one hundred other books.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
February 7, 1867
Date of Death:
February 10, 1957
Place of Birth:
Pepin, Wisconsin
Place of Death:
Mansfield, Missouri

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Little House in the Big Woods 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 88 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My 8 year old loved it. I would recommed it because it tells Wilders life and if you like history you will like this book.
Sam_Plus_Ten More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous 3 months ago
This is a great book. It made me feel like I was Laura, because it was so descriptive. It is funny, adventureous, and imaginative. If you like all those things then I recommend this book for you. - PowerFlash27
Anonymous 7 months ago
Also, read the other books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Isn't it just the best book ever!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good start to the series .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love her books!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing book! I have read the first to and I can not wait to read famer boy! I think this is a great book for children and who knows while they are reading they might learn something
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite book I'm going to try to read the whole seires this summer which in my school is in 9 1/2 days I recomand you read this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A real thrilling autobiogrophy of Laura Ignalls Wilder, Little House in the Big Woods. A nice tale of a country girl living in a house in the woods. Kids now days are so addicted to technology, fast food, and cities, the way we live. This book is a great read for children because it is simple and fun. It feels like you are there watching the film you made play through you head everytime you read it. Picking up thus book makes me smile and I have it on my shelf. You should definetly read this book and you will be excited from when you start to read until the very last page. I love the part where Laura goes to her famulys Chrismas party and meets another Laura who is not the nicest. They have a breif argument on whose younger sister is the prettiest. The way Ignalls describes the beautiful gowns her aunts, her mother, grandmothers, and her other women relatives were wearing was the most incredible description I have heard in,possibly, my life. My favorite charactor is Laura and the way she is so brave and wonderful. During all the times I have read the book Little House in the Big Woods I hace always found new words I might not have seen before. Having this book on my shelf at all times is probobly one of the greatesg honors I have ever, ever had. Reading Littke House in the Big Woods is wonderful, like an energy bursring from every page. I cherish every second I am reading Laura's story whenever it is or whatever time it is. I hope reading The Little House in the Big Woods is just as memorable and exiting as ut was for me. Laura Ignalls Wilder really pushed herself (not that she needed to) to do her absaloute BEST work on this truly magnificent peice of writing that is a cherishable memory that everyone will keep for absalote forever.
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Wish_Upon_A_Story More than 1 year ago
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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