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

( 28 )

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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.

Originally published in 1937, On the Banks of Plum Creek is the fourth book in the Little House Series.

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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

  • ISBN-13: 9780064400046
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/28/2008
  • Series: Little House Series , #4
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 372,572
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.16 (w) x 7.63 (h) x 0.81 (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

Read an Excerpt

On the Banks of Plum Creek


By Wilder, Laura Ingalls

HarperTrophy

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."

Continues...

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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Table of Contents

The Door in the Ground 1
The House in the Ground 8
Rushes and Flags 18
Deep Water 22
Strange Animal 28
Wreath of Roses 37
Ox on the Roof 45
Straw-Stack 52
Grasshopper Weather 61
Cattle in the Hay 67
Runaway 73
The Christmas Horses 80
A Merry Christmas 89
Spring Freshet 97
The Footbridge 101
The Wonderful House 107
Moving In 118
The Old Crab and the Bloodsuckers 125
The Fish-Trap 133
School 140
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First Chapter

On the Banks of Plum Creek

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."

On the Banks of Plum Creek. 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 5
( 28 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 19, 2011

    A very highly recommendable book. Laura hit the home run on this book..

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 2, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Really good.

    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

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2010

    Gift For Nine Year Old Neice

    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!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 5, 2009

    must read!

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2007

    A Fantastic Read

    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!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2007

    On the Banks of Plum Creek

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2005

    A Star on the Prarie

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2004

    A Great Story

    This is a great story. You really should read it. The illustrations are wonderful!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2003

    drama on the prairie

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2002

    this is the best book ever made

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2000

    Another Great Story!!!

    Best of them all. This story is great.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2000

    Very Good!

    This book is very good! I read it and I could'nt put it down! It keeps you wondering what will happen next! You must buy this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2000

    The Greatest book

    I am not really like to read book but I dare say this is the fist book that I really enjoy and This is the first book that made me continue to read book ! I love it !

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2000

    The Best So Far

    I really enjoyed this book. The book was written about real life and the way in which people try to get through it, even though it may seem hard. I would recommened this book to a friend because it teaches us how lucky we really are! Some things are not as bad as they seem, there is always someone worse off than you.

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    Posted April 23, 2009

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    Posted January 13, 2010

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    Posted October 10, 2009

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    Posted October 26, 2008

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    Posted March 2, 2012

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    Posted January 30, 2009

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