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Little Town on the Prairie (Little House Series: Classic Stories #7)

Little Town on the Prairie (Little House Series: Classic Stories #7)

4.7 31
by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Garth Williams (Illustrator)

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The little settlement that weathered the long, hard winter of 1880-81 is now a growing town. Laura is growing up, and she goes to her first evening social. Mary is at last able to go to a college for the blind. Best of all, Almanzo Wilder asks permission to walk home from church with Laura. And Laura, now fifteen years old, receives her certificate to teach school


The little settlement that weathered the long, hard winter of 1880-81 is now a growing town. Laura is growing up, and she goes to her first evening social. Mary is at last able to go to a college for the blind. Best of all, Almanzo Wilder asks permission to walk home from church with Laura. And Laura, now fifteen years old, receives her certificate to teach school.

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.

1942 Newbery Honor Book
Notable Children's Books of 1940–1954 (ALA)

Author Biography: Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in 1867 in the log cabin described in Little House in the Big Woods. As her classic Little House books tell us, she and her family traveled by covered wagon across the Midwest. She and her husband, Almanzo Wilder, made their own covered-wagon trip with their daughter, Rose, to Mansfield, Missouri. There Laura wrote her story in the Little House books, and lived until she was ninety years old. For millions of readers, however, she lives forever as the little pioneer girl in the beloved Little House books.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Little House Series
Edition description:
Full Color Collector's Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.00(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt


0ne evening at supper, Pa asked, "How would you like to work in town, Laura?" Laura could not say a word. Neither could any of the others. They all sat as if they were frozen. Grace's blue eyes stared over the rim of her tin cup, Carrie's teeth stayed bitten into a slice of bread, and Mary's hand held her fork stopped in the air. Ma let tea go pouring from the teapot's spout into Pa's brimming cup. Just in time, she quickly set down the teapot.

"What did you say, Charles?" she asked.

"I asked Laura how she'd like to take a job in town," Pa replied.

"A job? For a girl? In town?" Ma said. "Why, what kind of a job--" Then quickly she said, "No, Charles, I won't have Laura working out in a hotel among all kinds of strangers."

"Who said such a thing?" Pa demanded. "No girl of ours'll do that, not while I'm alive and kicking."

"Of course not," Ma apologized. "You took me so by surprise. What other kind of work can there be? and Laura not old enough to teach school yet."

All in the minute before Pa began to explain, Laura thought of the town, and of the homestead claim where they were all so busy and happy now in the springtime, and she did not want anything changed. She did not want to work in town.

on the claim

After the October Blizzard last fall, they had all moved to town and for a little while Laura had gone to school there. Then the storms had stopped school, and all through that long winter the blizzards had howled between the houses, shutting them off from each other so that day after day and night after night not a voice could be heard and not a light couldbe seen through the whirling snow.

All winter long, they had been crowded in the little kitchen, cold and hungry and working hard in the dark and the cold to twist enough hay to keep the fire going and to grind wheat in the coffee mill for the day's bread.

All that long, long winter, the only hope had been that sometime. winter must end, sometime blizzards must stop, the sun would shine warm again and they could all get away from the town and go back to the homestead claim.

Now it was springtime. The Dakota prairie lay so warm and bright under the shining sun that it did not seem possible that it had ever been swept by the winds and snows of that hard winter. How wonderful it was, to be on the claim again! Laura wanted nothing more than just being outdoors. She felt she never could get enough sunshine soaked into her bones.

In the dawns when she went to the well at the edge of the slough to fetch the morning pail of fresh water, the sun was rising in a glory of colors. Meadow larks were flying, singing, up from the dew-wet grass. Jack rabbits hopped beside the path, their bright eyes watching and their long ears twitching as they daintily nibbled their breakfast of tender grass tips.

Laura was in the shanty only long enough to set down the water and snatch the milk pail. She ran out to the slope where Ellen, the cow, was cropping the sweet young grass. Quietly Ellen stood chewing her cud while Laura milked.

Warm and sweet, the scent of new milk came up from the streams hissing into the rising foam, and it mixed with the scents of springtime. Laura's bare feet were wet and cool in the dewy grass, the sunshine was warm on her neck, and Ellen's flank was warmer against her cheek. On its own little picket rope, Ellen's baby calf bawled anxiously, and Ellen answered with a soothing moo.

When Laura had stripped the last creamy drops of milk, she lugged the pail to the shanty. Ma poured some of the warm new milk into the calf's pail. The rest she strained through a clean white cloth into tin milk pans, and Laura carefully carried them down cellar while Ma skimmed thick cream from last night's milk. Then she poured the skimmed milk into the calf's pail, and Laura carried it to the hungry calf.

Teaching the calf to drink was not easy, but always interesting. The wobbly-legged baby calf had been born believing that it must butt hard with its little red poll, to get milk. So when it smelled the milk in the pail, it tried to butt the pail.

Laura must keep it from spilling the milk, if she could, and she had to teach it how to drink, because it didn't know. She dipped her fingers into the milk and let the calf's rough tongue suck them, and gently she led its nose down to the milk in the pail. The calf suddenly snorted milk into its nose, sneezed it out with a whoosh that splashed milk out of the pail, and then with all its might it butted into the milk. It butted so hard that Laura almost lost hold of the pail. A wave of milk went over the calf's head and a splash wet the front of Laura's dress.

So, patiently she began again, dipping her fingers for the calf to suck, trying to keep the milk in the pail and to teach the calf to drink it. In the end, some of the milk was inside the calf.

Then Laura pulled up the picket pins. One by one, she led Ellen, the baby calf and the yearling calf to fresh places in the soft, cool grass. She drove the iron pins deep into the ground. The sun was fully up now, the whole sky was blue, and the whole earth was waves of grass flowing in the wind. And Ma was calling.

"Hurry, Laura! Breakfast's waiting!"

Little Town on the Prairie. Copyright © by Laura Wilder. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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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Little Town on the Prairie 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Apparently I've read them all, though I have no memory of doing so. I remember Mom reading it to me and my sister, and watching the show, visiting the sites, etc. But I only remember reading Little House in the Big Woods twice and this one once. But this one's my favorite.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Little House on the Prairie was my favorite series when I was eight and the first books that I was excited to read! Little Town on the Prairie is my favorite book in the series!
swimmom07 More than 1 year ago
As with all Laura Ingalls Wilder books, this is a wonderful glimps of life on the prarie when the west was being settled. It is suitable for any one of any age. If you read the entire series, you come to know the characters of the books as if they were your neighbors. Good clean reading enjoyment, a favorite with girls in grade school to early middle school.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just as good as the other books in the series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can remember reading the entire Little House series one winter while in grade-school. I¿d read the stories of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family from a rocking chair in front of the fireplace in my home. In Little Town on the Prairie, the small town of De Smet, where Laura¿s family made their home many years ago, is beginning to grow. De Smet isn¿t the only thing that¿s growing - the Ingalls girls are as well. Mary, now faced with the challenge of being blind, dreams of attending a school for the blind. However, the family is faced with finding the money to make this dream a reality. When Pa tells Laura that he¿s found a job for her in town, her mind begins to race with thought of being able to, ¿earn fifteen dollars, maybe even twenty, to help send Mary to college.¿ Other than helping her sister go to school, Laura¿s dreams are still occupied by the handsome, Almanzo. Though some things are changing for the girls, others remain the same, like the ever-present havoc created by their longtime nemesis, Nellie Olson. Join the Ingalls family and share in the joys and pains that come along with becoming an adult in a Little Town on the Prairie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is wounderfull in every way.Larua works hard to try and get her sister in college.She gradully gets use to life in town.There are points were she whised that her sister Mary didn't go to college.She also meets someone who she realy doesn't whant to see any more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book, it is lovingly illustrated and written. All of the chapters are my favorite!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i really thought this book was goooood i never wanted to put it down
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent Little House book. It includes Mary Ingalls Christian testimony and is a great read like all of the rest of the Little House books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read the entire Little House series about 5 times since I was a little girl, and this one is by far my favorite out of all them!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would definitely buy this book if you can! It is best for ages 8 through 16. This book is basically about a family moving to a new place and them trying to get used to it. Along the way, it is a bumpy road, but the Ingalls always work it out.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this was a truly heart warming story of love and passion. laura has an undeniable talent of making you almost envious of her fun but somewhat simple life. u find ur self learning to luv th characters mentioned
Guest More than 1 year ago
You start reading the book and you're in a trance. It amazes you with the outragiosly funny scenes and the happiness when Laura gets a teaching certificate. One of the funniest parts in the book (you will be crying it's sssooo funny) when a little door mouse eats Pa's hair!!!!!!! You get nervous and excited about the spelling bee when Laura has to spell the word: Xanthophyll. Enjoy this book while it lasts!
Anonymous 8 months ago
Love this book so Intresting
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