|Illustration by Garth Williams|
Whether or not you've always been a reader, chances are good that you've got at least a few favorite books from childhood. But if you were a total bookworm as a kid? A few probably doesn't even begin to cover it! There's something so significant about the books that impact you as a kid and stay with you through adulthood. For me, that's been the case with The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
I started talking about the series one day with Alexa from Alexa Loves Books - enjoying the walk down memory lane and our shared love and respect for these books. While we both considered it a childhood favorite, it had been years since either one of us had re-read it. And since I'm co-hosting The Re-Read Challenge this year, it seemed like the perfect motivation and opportunity to revisit this beloved series. So, Looking Back at Little House was born! During the next few days, we'll share our thoughts on the books after re-reading, some of our favorite moments and what to read after you're done. But today, it's all about our memories!
There are a few series that will always be linked to my childhood memories, and this is one of them. As a kid, I was obsessed with historical fiction. I still love it today, but nothing compares to my all-consuming love for this genre when I was growing up. I wanted to learn everything I possibly could about the past, and these books were a huge milestone on that journey. I can't even remember how I discovered them, though I suspect it was either in school or from my mother, but I was hooked from the first page!
I loved the Ingalls family and the way they loved each other. I adored looking at the detailed illustrations and seeing my favorite moments depicted. Of course, my favorite aspect was the history! I learned so much about this time period, and it's one reason I think I've always been drawn to American history. When I was in third grade, my class read a book about Laura Ingalls Wilder. Once we finished, we got to celebrate by dressing up like pioneers. I WAS ALL OVER THAT BUSINESS (as you can see in the photo on the right). And then there was sixth grade... I can't remember all the details of the project, but I know we chose a partner and had to build something based on a book. My friend and I ended up building (with a lot of help from her dad) the Little House cabin. IT WAS AMAZING! I was a little too old to play with dollhouses at that point in time, but I totally wanted to keep it forever.
What did I remember about the series before our re-read? Not much, I'll admit! Pa, Ma, Mary, Laura and Carrie loomed large in my mind, though I completely forgot Grace. I remembered the cabin in the woods and the sod home by Plum Creek, but none of the many other places they lived. I vaguely recalled them traveling by covered wagon and the long winter without food. As far as the plot, the only things that stood out were Mary going blind and Laura marrying Almanzo. Like Alexa, I just saw the big picture without many details.
I was pretty nervous to re-read The Little House series as an adult! There are some books from childhood that have retained their magic for me, even as an adult reader, but there are others that have lost some of their charm. What if this series turned out to be the latter? I'd so forgotten the details, too, that I wondered if nostalgia had affected the way I thought of the series as a whole. However, I had hope that this would prove just as thrilling and lovely as it was when I was little! At the very least, I knew I was in for an adventure and a great discussion with Alexa. Check back tomorrow to find out if it lived up to my expectations...
Did you read the Little House series as a kid?
Have you revisited any of the books as an adult?