These Happy Golden Years (Little House Series: Classic Stories #8)

( 34 )

Overview

Fifteen-year-old Laura lives apart from her family for the first time, teaching school in a claim shanty twelve miles from home. She is very homesick, but keeps at it so that she can help pay for her sister Mary's tuition at the college for the blind. During school vacations Laura has fun with her singing lessons, going on sleigh rides, and best of all, helping Almanzo Wilder drive his new buggy. Friendship soon turns to love for Laura and Almanzo in the romantic conclusion of ...

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Overview

Fifteen-year-old Laura lives apart from her family for the first time, teaching school in a claim shanty twelve miles from home. She is very homesick, but keeps at it so that she can help pay for her sister Mary's tuition at the college for the blind. During school vacations Laura has fun with her singing lessons, going on sleigh rides, and best of all, helping Almanzo Wilder drive his new buggy. Friendship soon turns to love for Laura and Almanzo in the romantic conclusion of this Little House book.

Originally published in 1943, These Happy Golden Years is the eighth book in the Little House Series.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
This is one of the "Little House Books" written by Wilder about her life in the Big Woods. It is a wonderful time of courting by her future husband, Almanzo Wilder. It is also about how good life is with her family in the Midwest. The story draws one into it and makes the reader see how hard winters can be and how hard one had to work. Simple things like food and enjoying family and friends are very important. Later in the series Laura and her husband traveled by wagon with their daughter Rose to Missouri. The author has a way of taking us back in time and allowing the reader to be with her in telling about the past. Young girls love the books and read them over and over. The story stretches across age and interest. This one is special because it is a "Full-Color Collector's Edition." The color and the paper are of very fine quality. Garth Williams was always the right choice for doing those memorable illustrations. You have to love handling this beautiful book and reading, or re-reading, it. Best of all everyone can afford this paperback edition. 2004 (orig. 1943), Harper Trophy/HarperCollins Publishers, Ages 8 to 13.
—Naomi Butler
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Children will enjoy hearing Tony Award-winning narrator Cherry Jones read Laura Ingalls Wilder's stories about her family and her life on the prairie almost 125 years ago in this eighth book in the Laura Years series. Laura is 16 years old, teaching school, and working at local stores to make extra money to help her family send her blind sister to school. She and her girlfriends enjoy sleigh rides, buggy rides, and singing school. But will she decide the time is right to settle down in her own little house with Almanzo Wilder, who courts her throughout the book? This sweet tale about teenage life, first love, and new responsibilities has stood the test of time. The narration is pitch-perfect, and the music provided by Paul Woodiel brings Pa's fiddle to life. An excellent choice for school and public library collections.-Casey Rondini, Hartford Public Library, CT Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064400084
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/28/1994
  • Series: Little House Series , #8
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 257,049
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.13 (w) x 7.66 (h) x 0.73 (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

These Happy Golden Years


By Laura Ingalls Wilder

Rebound by Sagebrush

Copyright ©2003 Laura Ingalls Wilder
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0613714342

Chapter One

Laura Leaves Home

Sunday afternoon was clear, and the snow-covered prairie sparkled in the sunshine. A little wind blew gently from the south, but it was so cold that the sled runners squeaked as they slid on the hard-packed snow. The horses' hoofs made a dull sound, clop, clop, clop. Pa did not say anything.

Sitting beside him on the board laid across the bobsled, Laura did not say anything, either. There was nothing to say. She was on her way to teach school.

Only yesterday she was a schoolgirl; now she was a school teacher. This had happened so suddenly. Laura could hardly stop expecting that tomorrow she would be going to school with little sister Carrie, and sitting in her seat with Ida Brown. But tomorrow she would be teaching school.

She did not really know how to do it. She never had taught school, and she was not sixteen years old yet. Even for fifteen, she was small; and now she felt very small.

The slightly rolling, snowy land lay empty all around. The high, thin sky was empty overhead. Laura did not look back, but she knew that the town was miles behind her now; it was only a small dark blot on the empty prairie's whiteness. In the warm sitting room there, Ma and Carrie and Grace were faraway.

Brewster settlement was still miles ahead. It was twelve miles from town. Laura did not know what it was like. She did not know anyone there. She had seen Mr. Brewster only once, when he came to hire her to teach the school. He was thin and brown, like any homesteader; he did not have much to say for himself

Pa sat looking ahead into the distance while he held the reins in his mittened hands and now and then chirruped to the horses. But he knew how Laura felt. At last he turned his face toward her and spoke, as if he were answering her dread of tomorrow.

"Well, Laura! You are a schoolteacher now! We knew you would be, didn't we? Though we didn't expect it so soon."

"Do you think I can, Pa?" Laura answered. "Suppose ... just suppose ... the children won't mind me when they see how little I am."

"Of course you can," Pa assured her. "You've never failed yet at anything you tried to do, have you?"

"Well, no," Laura admitted. "But I ... I never tried to teach school."

"You've tackled every job that ever came your way," Pa said. "You never shirked, and you always stuck to it till you did what you set out to do. Success gets to be a habit, like anything else a fellow keeps on doing."

Again there was a silence except for the squeaking of the sled runners and the clop-clop-clop of the horses' feet on the hard snow. Laura felt a little better. It was true; she always had kept on trying; she had always had to. Well, now she had to teach school.

"Remember that time on Plum Creek, Half-Pint?" Pa said. "Your Ma and I went to town, and a blizzard came up? And you got the whole woodpile into the house."

Laura laughed out loud, and Pa's laugh rang like great bells in the cold stillness. How little and scared and funny she had been, that day so long ago!

"That's the way to tackle things!" Pa said. "Have confidence in yourself, and you can lick anything. You have confidence in yourself, that's the only way to make other folks have confidence in you." He paused, and then said, "One thing you must guard against."

"What, Pa?" Laura asked.

"You are so quick, Flutterbudget. You are apt to act or speak first, and think afterward. Now you must do your thinking first and speak afterward. If you will remember to do that, you will not have any trouble."

"I will, Pa," Laura said earnestly.

It was really too cold to talk. Snug enough under the heavy blankets and quilts, they went on silently toward the south. The cold wind blew against their faces. A faint trace of sled runners stretched onward before them. There was nothing else to see but the endless, low white land and the huge pale sky, and the horses' blue shadows blotting the sparkle from the snow.

The wind kept Laura's thick black woolen veil rippling before her eyes. Her breath was frozen in a patch of frost in the veil, that kept slapping cold and damp against her mouth and nose.

At last she saw a house ahead. Very small at first, it grew larger as they came nearer to it. Half a mile away there was another, smaller one, and far beyond it, another. Then still another appeared. Four houses; that was all. They were far apart and small on the white prairie.

Pa pulled up the horses. Mr. Brewster's house looked like two claim shanties put together to make a peaked roof. Its tar-paper roof was bare, and melted snow had run into big icicles that hung from the eaves in blobby columns larger around than Laura's arms. They looked like huge, jagged teeth. Some bit into the snow, and some were broken off. The broken chunks of ice lay frozen into the dirty snow around the door, where dishwater had been thrown. There was no curtain at the window, but smoke blew from the stovepipe that was anchored to the roof with wires.

Mr. Brewster opened the door. A child was squalling in the house, and he spoke loudly to be heard. "Come in, Ingalls! Come in and warm yourself."

"Thank you," Pa replied. "But it's a long twelve miles home and I better be going."

Laura slid out from under the blankets quickly, not to let the cold in. Pa handed her Ma's satchel, that held her change of underclothes, her other dress, and her schoolbooks.

"Good-by, Pa," she said.



Continues...

Excerpted from These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder Copyright ©2003 by Laura Ingalls Wilder. 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

Laura Leaves Home 1
First Day of School 11
One Week 21
Sleigh Bells 30
A Stiff Upper Lip 46
Managing 53
A Knife in the Dark 60
A Cold Ride 69
The Superintendent's Visit 78
Almanzo Says Good-by 82
Jingle Bells 89
East or West, Home Is Best 95
Springtime 102
Holding Down a Claim 114
Mary Comes Home 123
Summer Days 130
Breaking the Colts 140
The Perry School 147
The Brown Poplin 157
Nellie Oleson 170
Barnum and Skip 185
Singing School 201
Barnum Walks 209
Almanzo Goes Away 217
The Night Before Christmas 223
Teachers' Examinations 232
School Days End 236
The Cream-Colored Hat 239
Summer Storm 251
Sunset on the Hill 259
Wedding Plans 265
"Haste to the Wedding" 272
Little Gray Home in the West 279
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First Chapter

These Happy Golden Years

Chapter One

Laura Leaves Home

Sunday afternoon was clear, and the snow-covered prairie sparkled in the sunshine. A little wind blew gently from the south, but it was so cold that the sled runners squeaked as they slid on the hard-packed snow. The horses' hoofs made a dull sound, clop, clop, clop. Pa did not say anything.

Sitting beside him on the board laid across the bobsled, Laura did not say anything, either. There was nothing to say. She was on her way to teach school.

Only yesterday she was a schoolgirl; now she was a school teacher. This had happened so suddenly. Laura could hardly stop expecting that tomorrow she would be going to school with little sister Carrie, and sitting in her seat with Ida Brown. But tomorrow she would be teaching school.

She did not really know how to do it. She never had taught school, and she was not sixteen years old yet. Even for fifteen, she was small; and now she felt very small.

The slightly rolling, snowy land lay empty all around. The high, thin sky was empty overhead. Laura did not look back, but she knew that the town was miles behind her now; it was only a small dark blot on the empty prairie's whiteness. In the warm sitting room there, Ma and Carrie and Grace were far away.

Brewster settlement was still miles ahead. It was twelve miles from town. Laura did not know what it was like. She did not know anyone there. She had seen Mr. Brewster only once, when he came to hire her to teach the school. He was thin and brown, like any homesteader; he did not have much to say for himself

Pa sat looking ahead into the distance while he held the reins in his mittened hands and now and then chirruped to the horses. But he knew how Laura felt. At last he turned his face toward her and spoke, as if he were answering her dread of tomorrow.

"Well, Laura! You are a schoolteacher now! We knew you would be, didn't we? Though we didn't expect it so soon."

"Do you think I can, Pa?" Laura answered. "Suppose ... just suppose ... the children won't mind me when they see how little I am."

"Of course you can," Pa assured her. "You've never failed yet at anything you tried to do, have you?"

"Well, no," Laura admitted. "But I ... I never tried to teach school."

"You've tackled every job that ever came your way," Pa said. "You never shirked, and you always stuck to it till you did what you set out to do. Success gets to be a habit, like anything else a fellow keeps on doing."

Again there was a silence except for the squeaking of the sled runners and the clop-clop-clop of the horses' feet on the hard snow. Laura felt a little better. It was true; she always had kept on trying; she had always had to. Well, now she had to teach school.

"Remember that time on Plum Creek, Half-Pint?" Pa said. "Your Ma and I went to town, and a blizzard came up? And you got the whole woodpile into the house."

Laura laughed out loud, and Pa's laugh rang like great bells in the cold stillness. How little and scared and funny she had been, that day so long ago!

"That's the way to tackle things!" Pa said. "Have confidence in yourself, and you can lick anything. You have confidence in yourself, that's the only way to make other folks have confidence in you." He paused, and then said, "One thing you must guard against."

"What, Pa?" Laura asked.

"You are so quick, Flutterbudget. You are apt to act or speak first, and think afterward. Now you must do your thinking first and speak afterward. If you will remember to do that, you will not have any trouble."

"I will, Pa," Laura said earnestly.

It was really too cold to talk. Snug enough under the heavy blankets and quilts, they went on silently toward the south. The cold wind blew against their faces. A faint trace of sled runners stretched onward before them. There was nothing else to see but the endless, low white land and the huge pale sky, and the horses' blue shadows blotting the sparkle from the snow.

The wind kept Laura's thick black woolen veil rippling before her eyes. Her breath was frozen in a patch of frost in the veil, that kept slapping cold and damp against her mouth and nose.

At last she saw a house ahead. Very small at first, it grew larger as they came nearer to it. Half a mile away there was another, smaller one, and far beyond it, another. Then still another appeared. Four houses; that was all. They were far apart and small on the white prairie.

Pa pulled up the horses. Mr. Brewster's house looked like two claim shanties put together to make a peaked roof. Its tar-paper roof was bare, and melted snow had run into big icicles that hung from the eaves in blobby columns larger around than Laura's arms. They looked like huge, jagged teeth. Some bit into the snow, and some were broken off. The broken chunks of ice lay frozen into the dirty snow around the door, where dishwater had been thrown. There was no curtain at the window, but smoke blew from the stovepipe that was anchored to the roof with wires.

Mr. Brewster opened the door. A child was squalling in the house, and he spoke loudly to be heard. "Come in, Ingalls! Come in and warm yourself."

"Thank you," Pa replied. "But it's a long twelve miles home and I better be going."

Laura slid out from under the blankets quickly, not to let the cold in. Pa handed her Ma's satchel, that held her change of underclothes, her other dress, and her schoolbooks.

"Good-by, Pa," she said.

These Happy Golden Years. 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
( 34 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 15, 2014

    Lovely book

    My 11 year old daughter needed this - it was the only book missing from our Little House on the Prairie collection. She loved this anniversary edition with the full color pictures, thicker paper pages and was so excited to add this to our collection. Great book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 10, 2011

    A sweet romantic book.

    I Like the Little house series, I think they are clean and good. The Illustrations are very good, and the way Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote this was very nice. I have read the the nine books and i have read them over and over. About the Book: The book is very nice and shows how hard Laura worked. I like the book more in the middle because Almanzo and Laura are more dating. It shows how the weddings weren't this big things. Laura didn't even have a wedding dress. Then after there wedding they went home and Laura started Cooking like it was no big deal. The book is really good and i would recommended it too children of Any Age.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2008

    WHAT A BOOK

    While Mary is away at college laura and almanzo fall in love. i luv ths book!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted October 15, 2005

    Hello! She's only human!

    This book was awesome! To the reviewer that replied that their love kind of distanced itself after they engaged i need 2 point out something. Once you're engaged to a guy do U really spend tht much time talking away rather than spending your moments together thinking about your future or perhaps romancing. we all know through Wilder's details that she cherished every moment w/ her future hubby. this is an awesome book 4 all ages that need 2 remember what real love was about in the past for UR family & a guy rather then todays version of love where most guys aren't gentlemen & most people ignore their families when they call. You've just got to love Laura's books! I loved them!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2005

    The best Laura Ingalls Wilder book

    Although this book is romantic, it is written for all ages, even for people who aren't romantic at all! I thought that was a cool part of the book. It was a sweet, touching book of all times!

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

    Posted September 8, 2004

    The best of her books

    some of the earlier books are a little to childish for older readers, but this book is the best of her series. Very entertaing and pleasure able. could read over and over. Ending could have been a little more interesting. The strange thing is that after Laura and Almonzo are engaged, they don't talk much? Or is it that she did't record the conversations?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2004

    Great Book

    this was my favorite book of all of them. i loved it. i cant say it enough . I LOVED IT. ok i truly loved. at the end- this might sound babish- but i cried. laura was leaving home and mary was gone oh how much sadness she much have felt i really felt sorry for her. now i cant pick the book and and look at the cover with out crying. im going to write my favorite part of the book. golden years are passing by these happy golden years

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2004

    The Best Little House Book Ever!

    I adore this book! You should definately read this if you have the chance. Laura and Almanzo are falling in love, and he always takes Laura on those sweet little buggy rides. BTW Miss Annoying Nellie comes along, it's short, but it's enough to get you ready to show Nellie who's boss! Enjoy!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2004

    These Happy Golden Years Book Reveiw

    This is the best book I've ever read! I won't tell what happens, but I'll tell you this: While Mary leaves,Laura falls in love, and she feels sad to leave home sweet home,too. Read this great book to find out how she loves these happy golden years. I will write this poem,and try to figure out what it means once you finish the book: Sleigh bells ring,school begins, Oh, these happy golden years! She misses Mary,leaves home, But these are still happy golden years! Got that? Well, have a good time reading it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2003

    The Best Years of Laura`s Life!

    The author of These Happy Golden years is Laura Ingalls Wilder. I gave this book a rating of 5 stars because it is a great book and my favorite in the series. Laura Ingalls is fifteen and going throught a lot of changes.She now has her teaching certificate and is going to teach school 20 miles from home.Laura must stay with a member of the school board whose family is mean. Teaching school may be scary and hard but Laura needs to make money to keep Mary her sister in a college for the blind.In the summer she takes odd jobs working for sewing shops.There is not much fun in Laura`s life untill she meets Almanzo. No matter how cold it is or if it`s snowing Almanzo Wilder is always at that little school house on Fridays ready to take homesick Laura home.Almanzo is older than Laura and owns a tree claim and a team of beautiful horses.In the summer after teaching or sewing ,Laura and Almanzo do many things together.Almanzo comes every Sunday and they take long rides through the country. They also go to social events and singing school together.They are a perfect match! Could Laura and Almanzo be in love ?Read the book and find out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2003

    My all time favorite book!

    I read all the books in the series in second grade and have read them every year since. This is the best one, and it is my all time favorite book. Laura and Almonzo truly loved each other. I love Laura Ingalls Wlder's style of writing. It intrigues me that these books are all true.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2002

    This is one of my personal favorites by Laura!

    The book starts out with her and her Pa going to the Brewsters' house to stay and teach at the local school. A little later in the book it tells of Almanzo Wilder acting like a "beau" and taking her from the school to her house and back. After the school season is over Almanzo and Laura start hanging out together and eventually become engaged. I thought it was sweet how he got her all those gifts! Then at the very end of the book they are married and go to their new home to spend their lives in. I give this book 5 stars!*****

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2002

    happy cuppel

    This book is about Lura anndd Almonzo when Lura goes to teach and Almonzo comes and piks her up soon they fall in love andd get married. If your a boy you whould not want to read this bok. But if your a girl you whould.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2002

    I love It.

    Awesome, spectacular, A MUST READ!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2002

    Very good book

    Laura has caught the eye of Almanzo Wilder. She and Almanzo go for buggy rides and he brings her home every Friday after the school, she is teaching, is out. Almanzo asks her a certain question which your gonna have to read the book to find out!!( hint: a ring)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2001

    Story of Suspence

    A story of romance and adventure! Wonderful descriptions and characters. Awesome scenes and settings to visualise!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2001

    Extraordinary

    The by far best book in the 'Little House' series. It's full of character- and relationship development and it's a very entertaining reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2001

    Excellent!

    A perfect way to continue the story of Laura's life. This book tells the way life really was and makes you think of how lucky we are to live in these modern times. I especially love the way Mrs. Wilder describes the scenes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2000

    The Greatest Book of All Times

    This was my favorite book and I've read it 5 times. If you looking for a book from the 1800's or in history and are looking for just a tiny bit of romance and humor then look no futhor you've found you book. I guarrentee this will be your favorite book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2000

    Fantastic

    A book you want to keep reading. It tells you what it was really like back in the prairie times. It was written very well.

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