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School Days (Little House Series: The Laura Years #4)


School Days

School is always exciting for Laura Ingalls and her sisters. Laura knows that learning can be fun, and there are so many friends to play with at recess!

The Laura Chapter Books are part of an ongoing series of Little House Chapter Books.

Laura and her sisters share some good and bad times when they attend different schools near their various prairie...

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School Days

School is always exciting for Laura Ingalls and her sisters. Laura knows that learning can be fun, and there are so many friends to play with at recess!

The Laura Chapter Books are part of an ongoing series of Little House Chapter Books.

Laura and her sisters share some good and bad times when they attend different schools near their various prairie homes.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Meredith Kiger
A simplified, softback book for those children not yet ready for the original "Little House" books. School Days is one in a series of four Chapter Books. It is divided into nine short chapters each dealing with Laura and her younger sister, Carrie's, experiences at a nearby one-room school. Although simplified, they still contain the charm and fascination of the original "Little House" stories.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Thomas
The first part of the story takes place on the Banks of Plum Creek. Laura and Mary attend school in a one-room schoolhouse where they are taught to use pencil and slate. Later in the story, the family moves from Minnesota to the Dakota Territory, where Laura and Carrie attended school in another one-room schoolhouse. Mary could not go to school because she had gotten scarlet fever that left her blind. At the end of the story, there is a big blizzard while the girls were at school. The girls found their way home in the blizzard and for several days they were taught at home. A book for a young child who is not quite ready for a chapter book. 1997 (orig.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064420495
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/28/1997
  • Series: Little House Series: The Laura Years , #4
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 169,547
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 520L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.68 (h) x 0.26 (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.

Renée Graef received her bachelor's degree in art from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She is the illustrator of numerous titles in the Little House publishing program, as well as Rodgers and Hammerstein's My Favorite Things and E.T.A Hoffman's The Nutcracker, adapted by Janet Schulman. She lives in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, with her husband and two children.


"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

Chapter One

Going to School

Laura and Mary were sisters. They had a baby sister named Carrie, and a Ma and a Pa.

One day Ma said, "Now we're nicely settled and only two and a half miles from town, you can go to school."

Laura and Mary looked at each other. School?

The more Laura thought about it, the more she didn't want to go. There was so much to do right there at home, on the banks of Plum Creek.

"Oh, Ma, do I have to?" she asked.

Ma said that little girls who are almost eight years old should be learning to read instead of running wild.

"But I can read, Ma," Laura said. "Listen!"

She picked up one of Ma's books. It was called Millbank. It was a fat book with small print. She read, "The doors and windows of Millbank were closed. Crepe streamed from the doorknob--"

"Oh, Laura," Ma said, "you are not reading. You are only reciting what you've heard me read to Pa so often. Besides, there are other things to learn--spelling and writing and arithmetic."

And that was that. Laura and Mary would start school on Monday morning.

Laura bounded out of the house. She almost ran into Pa, who was hammering something just outside the door.

"Oops!" said Pa. "Nearly hit you that time, flutterbudget!"

"What are you doing, Pa?"

"Making a fish-trap," said Pa. "Want to help me?"

Laura handed Pa nails one by one. He was building a sort of box with no lid. Pa left wide cracks between the strips of wood.

"How will that catch fish?" Laura asked. "If you put it in the creek they will swim in through the cracks, but they will swim right out again."

"You wait and see," saidPa.

Pa led the way to a steep place in the creek bank. There was a waterfall there. The water crashed and splashed over the edge. Laura helped Pa set the fish-trap right underneath the waterfall, where the water would pour right into it.

"You see, Laura," said Pa. "The fish will come over the falls into the trap. The little ones will go out through the cracks, but the big ones can't. They'll have to stay swimming in the box till I come and take them out."

At that very minute a big fish splashed over the falls. Laura squealed. "Look, Pa!" she shouted.

Pa grabbed the fish and lifted him out.

The fish flopped back and forth in his hands. Laura almost fell into the waterfall. They looked at that silvery fish. Then Pa dropped him back into the trap.

"Oh, Pa, can't we please stay and catch enough fish for supper?" Laura asked.

"I've got to get to work on a barn, Laura," said Pa. "And plow the garden and dig a well and-" He looked at Laura. "Well, little half-pint," he said, "maybe it won't take long."

He sat on his heels. Laura sat on hers and they waited. The creek poured and splashed. It was always the same and always changing. Laura could have watched it forever. The sun danced on the water and lay warm on Laura's neck. It shone on Pa's dark hair.

"Oh, Pa," Laura said, "do I have to go to school?"

"You will like school," said Pa.

"I like it better here," Laura said.

"I know, little half-pint," said Pa. "But it isn't everybody that gets a chance to learn to read and write. Your Ma was a school teacher when we met, and when she came West with me I promised that our girls would have a chance to get book learning. You're almost eight years old now, and Mary is going on nine. It's time you began." He smiled at her across the water. "Be thankful you've got the chance, Laura."

"Yes, Pa," Laura sighed.

Just then another big fish came over the falls. And before Pa could catch it there came another!

Laura watched the silvery fish splash in the glittering water. How could she possibly like school better than this?

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