On the Banks of Plum Creek (Little House Series: Classic Stories #4)

On the Banks of Plum Creek (Little House Series: Classic Stories #4)

4.7 30
by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Garth Williams

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America's Original
Pioneer Girl

Meet Laura Ingalls, the little girl who would grow up to write the Little House books.

Laura's family's first home in Minnesota is made of sod, but Pa builds a clean new house made of sawed lumber beside Plum Creek. The money for materials will come from their first wheat crop. Then, just before the wheat is ready to harvest

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America's Original
Pioneer Girl

Meet Laura Ingalls, the little girl who would grow up to write the Little House books.

Laura's family's first home in Minnesota is made of sod, but Pa builds a clean new house made of sawed lumber beside Plum Creek. The money for materials will come from their first wheat crop. Then, just before the wheat is ready to harvest, a strange glittering cloud fills the sky, blocking out the sun. Soon millions of grasshoppers cover the field and everything on the farm. In a week's time, there is no wheat crop left at all.

On the Banks of Plum Creek is the fourth book in the Laura Years series.The Ingalls family, after moving to Minnesota, encounters a terrible blizzard and a grasshopper plague.

1938 Newbery Honor Book
Notable Children's Books of 1940–1954 (ALA)

Author Biography: Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in 1867 in the log cabin described in Little House in the Big Woods. As her classic Little House books tell us, she and her family traveled by covered wagon across the Midwest. She and her husband, Almanzo Wilder, made their own covered-wagon trip with their daughter, Rose, to Mansfield, Missouri. There Laura wrote her story in the Little House books, and lived until she was ninety years old. For millions of readers, however, she lives forever as the little pioneer girl in the beloved Little House books.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
The fourth book in the much loved "Little House" series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Plum Creek finds the Ingalls family moving to Minnesota in the early years of United States history. The heroine is a feisty 8 year old named Laura. The reader follows her and her family through their adventures in their new home. Impish Laura and her wholesome pioneering family meet each challenge that arises with grit and loving kindness. From living in an earthen dugout, to a plague of locusts eating their dear crops, meeting their spoiled rotten neighbor Nellie Olsen, a prairie fire and a blizzard, it seems that the Ingalls can handle anything that comes their way. Notable is Laura's maturation process. She begins as a strong-willed, unreliable child and ends as a quick thinking, dependable young lady. Especially good is the section describing the locust storm. Also worthwhile is the look at frontier life and country economics. This is an excellent book for both read aloud to young children and independent reading for older kids. 2003 (orig 1937), Avon Books/ HarperCollins Publishers,
— Elizabeth Colbroth
Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Laura Ingalls Wilder fans will rejoice at the fine presentation of her novels in audio format. Cherry Jones brings to life Pa, Ma, Laura, and all the other characters. Performed at the right tempo for the intended audience, Jones changes her voice just enough for each character so they can easily be distinguished. Singing period songs as Pa, exclaiming with delight over some new discovery as Laura, or gently scolding as Ma, Jones keeps listeners entranced. Pa's fiddle music, performed by Paul Woodiel, enhances the presentation. As with the print versions, putting the books' content into the context of events which happened over 100 years ago will help intermediate students understand why a song about "darkeys" would be included (Little House in the Big Woods), and why certain attitudes toward minorities, particularly Native Americans, are acceptable to the characters in the books.-.Judy Czarnecki, Chippewa River District Library System, Mt. Pleasant, MI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Little House Series, #4
Edition description:
Full Color Collector's Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

On the Banks of Plum Creek

By Wilder, Laura Ingalls


ISBN: 0060581832

Chapter One

The Door
in the Ground

The dim wagon track went no farther on the prairie, and Pa stopped the horses.

When the wagon wheels stopped turning, Jack dropped down in the shade between them. His belly sank on the grass and his front legs stretched out. His nose fitted in the furry hollow. All of him rested, except his ears.

All day long for many, many days, Jack had been trotting under the wagon. He had trotted all the way from the little log house in Indian Territory, across Kansas, across Missouri, across Iowa, and a long way into Minnesota. He had learned to take his rest whenever the wagon stopped.

In the wagon Laura jumped up, and so did Mary. Their legs were tired of not moving.

"This must be the place," Pa said. "It's half a mile up the creek from Nelson's. We've come a good half-mile, and there's the creek."

Laura could not see a creek. She saw a grassy bank, and beyond it a line of willowtree tops, waving in the gentle wind. Everywhere else the prairie grasses were rippling far away to the sky's straight edge.

"Seems to be some kind of stable over there," said Pa, looking around the edge of the canvas wagon-cover."But where's the house?"

Laura jumped inside her skin. A man was standing beside the horses. No one had been in sight anywhere, but suddenly that man was there. His hair was pale yellow, his round face was as red as an Indian's, and his eyes were so pale that they looked like a mistake. Jack growled.

"Be still, Jack!" said Pa. He asked the man, "Are you Mr. Hanson?"

"Yah," the man said.

Pa spoke slowly and loudly. "I heard you want to go west. You trade your place?"

The man looked slowly at the wagon. He looked at the mustangs, Pet and Patty. After a while he said again, "Yah."

Pa got out of the wagon, and Ma said, "You can climb out and run around, girls, I know you are tired, sitting still."

Jack got up when Laura climbed down the wagon wheel, but he had to stay under the Wagon until Pa said he might go. He looked out at Laura while she ran along a little path that was there.

The path went across short sunny grass, to the edge of the bank. Down below it was the creek, rippling and glistening in the sunshine. The willow trees grew up beyond the creek.

Over the edge of the bank, the path turned and went slanting down, close against the grassy bank that rose up like a wall.

Laura went down it cautiously. The bank rose up beside her till she could not see the wagon. There was only the high sky above her, and down below her the water was talking to itself. Laura went a step farther, then one more step. The path stopped at a wider, flat place, where it turned and dropped down to the creek in stair-steps. Then Laura saw the door.

The door stood straight up in the grassy bank, where the path turned. It was like a house door, but whatever was behind it was under the ground. The door was shut.

In front of it lay two big dogs with ugly faces. They saw Laura and slowly rose up.

Laura ran very fast, up the path to the safe wagon. Mary was standing there, and Laura whispered to her, "There's a door in the ground, and two big dogs--" She looked behind her. The two dogs were coming.

Jack's deep growl rolled from under the wagon. He showed those dogs his fierce teeth.

"Those your dogs?" Pa said to Mr. Hanson. Mr. Hanson turned and spoke words that Laura could not understand. But the dogs understood. One behind the other, they slunk over the edge of that bank, down out of sight.

Pa and Mr. Hanson walked slowly away toward the stable. The stable was small and it was not made of logs. Grass grew on its walls and its roof was covered with growing grasses, blowing in the wind.

Laura and Mary stayed near the wagon, where Jack was. They looked at the prairie grasses swaying and bending, and yellow flowers nodding. Birds rose and flew and sank into the grasses. The sky curved very high and its rim came neatly down to the faraway edge of the round earth.

When Pa and Mr. Hanson came back, they heard Pa say: "All right, Hanson. We'll go to town tomorrow and fix up the Papers. Tonight we'll camp here."

"Yah, yah!" Mr. Hanson agreed.

Pa boosted Mary and Laura into the wagon and drove out on the prairie. He told Ma that he had traded Pet and Patty for Mr. Hanson's land. He had traded Bunny, the mule-colt, and the wagon-cover for Mr. Hanson's crops and his oxen.

He unhitched Pet and Patty and led them to the creek to drink. He put them on their picket-lines and helped Ma make camp for the night. Laura was quiet. She did not want to play and she was not hungry when they all sat eating supper by the camp fire.

"The last night out," said Pa. "Tomorrow we'll be settled again. The house is in the creek bank, Caroline."

"Oh, Charles!" said Ma. "A dugout. We've never had to live in a dugout yet."

"I think you'll find it very clean," Pa told her. "Norwegians are clean people. It will be snug for winter, and that's not far away."

"Yes, it will be nice to be settled before snow flies," Ma agreed.

"It's only till I harvest the first wheat crop," said Pa. "Then you'll have a fine house and I'll have horses and maybe even a buggy. This is great wheat country, Caroline! Rich, level land, with not a tree or a rock to contend with. I can't make out why Hanson sowed such a small field. It must have been a dry season, or Hanson's no farmer, his wheat is so thin and light."


Excerpted from On the Banks of Plum Creek by Wilder, Laura Ingalls 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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