The first book in the Rose Years series, the story of the spirited daughter of the author of the beloved Little House series.
Meet Rose Wilder, Laura Ingalls Wilder's daughter, and the last of the Little House girls.
Rose and her parents, Laura and Almanzo, say good-bye to Ma and Pa Ingalls and Laura's sisters. In a covered wagon containing all their possessions, they make their way across the drought-stricken Midwest to the lush green valleys of southern Missouri. The journey is long and not always easy, but at the end is the promise of a new home and a new life for the Wilders.
About the Author
Roger Lea MacBride, a close friend of Rose Wilder Lane's, was the author of the Rose Years novels.
Read an Excerpt
Rose jumped to her feet so fast, her stool toppled over. The book she was reading slid off her lap. Before she could grab it, it hit the floor with a loud thud.
Grandma Ingalls' head jerked up in surprise, and she laid down her sewing. "Gracious, child! You startled me."
"It's Mama!" Rose shouted. "I can hear her whistling!"
Grandma leaned forward to hear better. "So it is," she said. "Where did the time get to? Run and wake Aunt Mary from her nap while I put the kettle up for tea."
It had been hard for Rose to be good that day. Mama had promised a surprise when she and Papa came from work. Rose had tried to guess what it might be.
"Is it a dog?" she had asked Grandma. Ever since Nero, the big black Saint Bernard, had gotten sick and died, Rose had wanted another dog more than anything. But Grandma wouldn't tell.
Rose was so distracted by her curiosity that she had stitched her quilt pieces backward. She had spilled her milk, even though she was seven and a half years old. She had read the same page in The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe over and over and promptly forgotten every word!
She rapped on the closed bedroom door. "Aunt Mary, get up. Grandma is making tea,'-' she called out. Rose ran back across the dining room to the open parlor window. The sweet spring air poured into the room, tangling the thin white curtains.
Rose could hear birds singing their hearts out. But clearer than them all was the sound Of Mama's whistling. Grandma often teased Mama for being unladylike. "Whistling girls and crowing hens always come to some bad ends, Laura," Grandma would say.
But Rosedidn't care about Mama being unlady like. Mama whistled when she was happy, so hearing her always cheered Rose up. Not even a bird in spring could whistle like Mama. She whistled clear and sweet, trilling, chirping, or sometimes dropping the notes one by one, as a meadowlark drops them from the sky. Rose spotted Mama walking with Papa. She held her skirt up from the dusty street and her bonnet swung on her back.
Rose greeted them at the door and got a big hug from Papa.
"Grandma's in the kitchen," Rose said. "And Grandpa went to see Mr. Boast." She looked for a dog but didn't see one. The surprise must be in Papa's pocket. But Rose couldn't see any bulges.
"Grandma made something special," said Rose. She took Mama's hand and pulled her into the kitchen. On the table was a platter of golden-brown pastries.
"Oh, Ma," said Mama. "You made vanity cakes."
Aunt Mary came downstairs and they all sat down at the kitchen table. Grandma poured tea for the grown-ups, and then she poured Rose a glass of cold milk.
Rose had never eaten a vanity cake. It was still warm when she bit into it. It was crunchy on the outside, but it wasn't sweet like cake. And inside it was air; just a bubble that disappeared the minute she put the cake in her mouth. Rose thought it was very clever, and delicious.
"These are perfect," Mama said. "Just the way you made them when we were little."
Rose tried to be patient, and not speak until spoken to, as they finished the rest of the cakes. Finally she couldn't wait another moment.
"Mama," she said, "what about the surprise?"
Mama's violet-blue eyes sparkled mischievously. "Well, it's a very big surprise," she said, glancing at Grandma. "Papa and I thought we should wait until after supper."
"Oh, no!" Rose begged. "Tell me now. Please?"
"I suppose now is as good a time as any," Papa said. "How would you like to go on a trip, Rose?"
"The surprise is a trip?" Rose looked at Mama in astonishment.
"Yes," said Mama. "A long trip. To Missouri."
"Missouri?" Rose had heard of Missouri one Sunday, when she played with Paul Cooley and his brother George. The railroad company was selling land in Missouri. It had given their papa a free ride to go see it. Mr. Cooley had brought back pictures of mountains and forests printed on shiny smooth paper. He had brought a huge apple from an orchard there. Mr. Cooley said those mountains and forests were called The Land of the Big Red Apple.
"Papa and I have decided to take you to Missouri," Mama said. "We will drive there, just as I traveled with Grandma and Grandpa when I was a little girl-in a wagon with the mares and colts."
Mama smiled and Papa twisted an end of his mustache. They looked at Rose, waiting for her to speak. But she didn't know what to say.
"Is it far?" she asked in a small voice.
"Yes, a long way from Dakota--er, South Dakota," Papa said. "I keep forgetting it is a state now. It will take us most of the summer to get there."
"Most of the summer?" Rose was shocked. What about Sunday dinners at Grandma and Grandpa's? How could she fetch ice cream from Barker's for Mrs. Sherwood and her sister? They always let her share. Then Rose shot a glance at Aunt Mary, Mama's blind sister, who now sat quietly, her hands folded inher lap. Aunt Mary had promised to teach Rose how to read Braille.
So many questions crowded into Rose's head, she wanted to ask them all at once. "Why are we going to Missouri? Are Grandma and Grandpa going with us? Are we going for long?"
Grandma's chair scraped on the floor as she got up to stir the coals in the cookstove.
"We're going to Missouri to live," Mama said gently. "We're going to make a new home there. But Grandma and Grandpa will stay here."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Most of the time, sequels are annoying. They try to capture the appeal of the original work, but usually just end up being a lesser remix of the same elements. I tend not to have high expectations when I start reading a sequel. How much lower expectations I should have had for this book, which is the first book of a whole series of sequels to the Little House series. Fortunately, this is one of the rare cases when a sequel is worth reading.Little house on Rocky Ridge is the first volume in the series that chronicles the childhood of Rose Wilder Lane, Laura Ingalls Wilder's daughter. It picks up after the Little House series with the Wilder family leaving DeSmet, South Dakota in the middle of a drought and heading down to Missouri to try and build a better life there. In one sense, it is a rehash of the elder series in that there are many descriptions of daily life in the 1890's. In another sense, it's a new chapter in Laura's life, even though the focus of the book is on Rose's experiences and perceptions. I don't know whether Laura will continue to figure prominently in the series, or if she will fade to the background as Rose grows up and moves out on her own. But I intend to check it out and let you know. Both as a transition from the old series and an introduction to the new one, this book is well written and a pleasure to read.
Rose journeys from the home she has always had in South Dakota in a wagon to Missouri, Land of the Big Red Apple. The journey takes all summer and is full of adventure, and at the end, her parents buy a farm, which they name Rocky Ridge and settle in.
I enjoyed reading about Rose's life. I would recommend this series to anyone interested in the Ingalls/Wilder series.
this was such a great book! every night before i go to bed my mom always reads me a few pages out the little house 'laura's' series and my moms mom read it to her when she was little too and we liked it so much that it was a huge disapointment when it was over but then my mom told me about these books, they were almmost as good as the other series. iwould recomend this book to any person that has a heart, a brain, and a soul. although little house was bettor this story is just as loveable and one of the best on this earth
This book is a great story because it is very ,very nice,kind and smart.I think it is a great way to learn about girls and boys growing up in the time Rose ,Ma and Pa lived.This book is not just any book it is a great book.THE END
Rose Wilder is moving with her family and friends to the beautiful lands of the Land Of The Big Red Apple. Though its sad to leave behind people she loves Rose learns that travling and moving to a new place to start fresh and meet new people can be one of the best things in life. A very well written book.
I loved this book after finishing the 'laura years' i was looking for more and the 'rose years' were perfect read the book and find out for yourself
A little long ,but Great!!
IT'S FUN TO LEARN ABOUT HOW PEOPLE TRAVELD IN THOSE DAYS. IT TOOK SO LONG TO GET FROM STATE TO THE NEXT.