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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 (Illustrator)

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The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as they leave their little house on the prairie and travel in their covered wagon to Minnesota. Here they settle in a little house made of sod beside the banks of beautiful Plum Creek. Soon Pa builds a wonderful new little house with real glass windows and a hinged door. Laura and her sister Mary go to school,


The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as they leave their little house on the prairie and travel in their covered wagon to Minnesota. Here they settle in a little house made of sod beside the banks of beautiful Plum Creek. Soon Pa builds a wonderful new little house with real glass windows and a hinged door. Laura and her sister Mary go to school, help with the chores, and fish in the creek. At night everyone listens to the merry music of Pa's fiddle. Misfortunes come in the form of a grasshopper plague and a terrible blizzard, but the pioneer family works hard together to overcome these troubles.

And so continues 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.

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts

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.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Little House Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.16(w) x 7.63(h) x 0.81(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.

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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On the Banks of Plum Creek 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Living in the families little house, Laura and her family are moving to Minnesota. Pa bulids a new house on Plum Creek for them to live. Laura and her sister must adapt to a new school and learn about ways in Minnesota. But they have lots of trouble along the way. A grasshopper plague and a terrible blizzard makes this family feel isolated. But the tune of Pa fiddle brings them happyness agian. Will Laura and her Family every adapt to the changes they are going through? Will they be able to harvest any crop and make it throught the winter? Read and find out. This book is a realistic Fiction. I think that it is a wonderful story for everyone. I read them as a child and still enjoy them to this day. Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in 1867 and lived in a cabin like in LIttle house in the Big Woods. She lived until she was ninty years old. Ingalls, Laura Ingalls. ON THE BANKS OF PLUM CREEK. New York: Harper Collins, 1937.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm hooked on these thrilling and terrifying adventures,It's impossible for me to stop reading.
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lovelittlehouseseries More than 1 year ago
Wow what a book. This was the book that inspired the TV show. Laura wrote this book wonderfully and really did a good job Illustrating it. Many good things about this book... Illustration: Very nice and wonderful. Really made the book wonderful The Famiily Values: Learning that it might not be easy but it can work out in the end. Main Story line: Laura and her family move to Plum creek also Known as walnut grove. Character: Pa, Ma, Mary, Laura and Carrie The home Run Parts: Wonderful for children and adults to read. The beautiful Illustrations. Nice story layout.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MaggieMay11 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! It was great, absorbing and some parts were funnny. I always watch the TV series. It comes on Hallmark(if you are wondering). Hope you enjoy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I started my neice on Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House In the Woods when she was 8. She went through it rapidly and demanded her mother take her out to get Book 2, and then the same with Book 3. So this year I bought her Books 4,5 and 6 so her mother would at least have to the summer to start getting more. I also heard from my neice a week after she got this book to tell me her youger sisters are getting into the series too!
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LRMom More than 1 year ago
The Little House books are wonderful for all ages. My 5 year old and I are reading the entire series together. He is completely enthralled, and we are both learning so many things about life in the late 1800s. The Ingalls family set beautiful examples from whom anyone can learn many life lessons.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great book for the historical fiction lover! It is about a little girl named Laura Ingles who's family has moved to Plum Creeek. She has many adventures while living there, such as being teased by the town girls that she is a country girl. This is defently a fantastic read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
On The Banks of Plum Creek, by Laura Ingalls. Five out of five star rating. A memorable classic cherished for generations along with the whole little house series. The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as they move from their 'little house on the prarie' to Minnesota in their covered wagon. There, they move into a small dugout home beside the banks of Plum Creek. They have gone through a hard winter and some rather frightful events happen when they live there. But soon enough, right after their first Christmas on the new land, Pa builds a new house. The family gets comfortable and finally moves in completely. Laura and Mary have their own attic bedroom. The house has real glass windows and a hinged door. After that winter, Laura and her family have plenty of fish to eat when Laura and her father make fish traps in the creek. They all have their first visit to town and become aquainted with the stores and the streets. Mary and Laura go to school and make new friends, and meet their new teacher. Laura and Mary go to their first party and even decide to have one of their own. They have a blast when the get used to their new home, they play and learn new games, keep house while her parents are away, and even save the day when a unexpected blizzard comes in the middle of Fall. Everything quiets down and goes back to normal until misfortune sneaks upon the family, and a terrible grasshopper plague demolishes Pa's wheat crop. Pa has to travel east on foot to find work and is gone for weeks. Pa finally returns only to find that the grasshoppers are still there. He has come back with all the money he made, but anticipated that the grasshoppers would be gone. He goes to town, but is caught in a three day blizzard. Ma and the girls are worried sick, Pa said that he would stay in town if bad weather was to come, but they knew that he hated when they were alone at home. One night Laura was looking out of the window and faintly saw a dark object appear in the white landscape. 'A bear', she cried out and she ran to the door, but something bumped into it that startled her. Ther door knob slowly twisted and the door flew opened. It was Pa. Pa sat down and told his family about his adventure in the blizzard. Then suddenly Ma realized something, it was the day before Christmas. They were all home for the Holidays. Join Laura Ingalls and her poineer family as they overcome their struggles and share there unforgettable triumphs.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great story. You really should read it. The illustrations are wonderful!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Now they live in a real wood house and they have exciting problems of the old days happoen to them on thier farm. if you like adventure then this one is the one for you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
if you like stories about people who lived ago here is a great book for you.even if you don'd like those kinds of stories still try it. becuse it is the best book.so read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Best of them all. This story is great.