Monday, September 21, 2009

The Little House

It's been such a busy time at our house, but we've been having lots of fun! Now that Zack's birthday is finished I'm anxious to write about a few things that have been going on here.

I've been discussing book recommendations for Zack with a lot of the thoughtful and well-read people around me (aren't I lucky that there are so many of those people!). A friend recommended Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I was wondering if this series would be a bit beyond him, or how interesting it would be. I remember loving it as a kid, but I also remember some fairly sober moments late in the series. My friend is reading it to her kindergarten-aged son and made the good point that they were reading it now, since a female heroine might not appeal later.

Not too long after that, Zack went to pick out his prize from the library's summer reading program. It was quite late in the program and none of the picture books that remained were in English. Most of the chapter books were well beyond him, so he picked Little House on the Prairie. [Confession: I had a really hard time letting him get the second in the series when he hadn't read the first. Yeah. Silly Mommy.] We promptly picked up Little House in the Big Woods.

The other weekend we started reading it aloud. It is so entertaining and adorable! I had forgotten how very slice-of-life it is. Zack is finding it really fascinating. He loves the stories that the father tells most of all. There is no central crisis in the book, really, just a very sweet description of life in that time and place. He doesn't follow a few little subtleties, like Laura's feelings of comparison with the blond and ladylike older sister Mary, but overall it's really perfect for Zack's age. There is so much wonder in the special moments of life for a five year old.

Where do you find great book recommendations for kids? I bet some of you have great ideas and resources! I finally bought my own copy of The Read Aloud Handbook, by Jim Trelease (extended summary of what I learned from this book here), so I have some good recommendations in it, but I find I'm always on the lookout for more! What have your kids been reading?


  1. Little House in the Big Woods was one of the first books I read on my own. The chapter where they describe the smokehouse is permanently imprinted on me. It was the first time I experienced what felt like real real sensory input about a scene simply from reading words on a page. I haven't picked up the book since I was, probably, seven, but I can still smell that smoking meat the way I imagined it in my child-mind. My father suggested the book to me. I'm realizing that most of my formative childhood reading experiences originated with my father. SUCH a good book and series.

  2. I read the series as an adult. They were recommended to me by an elderly school teacher friend, Miss Lucy (she was in her 80's when I met her; she was a teacher during the depression). She especially recommended THE LONG WINTER because it was very much like the stories she heard from family members who lived through that terrible winter. Miss Lucy lived her entire life on the prarie of Illinois, and much of these stories were similar to her childhood.

  3. April - I had forgotten most of it but I have been surprised at how poignant I find the descriptions. I need to know what else your dad recommends :)

    Anonymous - Yes, we're really excited to get to the other books!