Laura Ingalls Wilder
Illustrated by Garth Williams
Softbound,full-color illustration, first 5 volumes, boxed set
When our children were growing up, we read these books together so many times that the pages almost wore out from handling. There is so much about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s recreation of her childhood (and that of her husband) that is just exactly right for our very modern children. Her portrait of the warmth her family shared with each other, even in the midst of what to my experience would be extreme hardship, is something that simply feeds our children what they are hungry for (and feeds their parents, as well, I might add). These stories also bring into view how it is possible to grow up stable and strong despise ever-changing homes, places, and circumstances. I don’t know many children today who haven’t had similar experiences of moving from place to place, and observed with my own children that they found both comfort and strength in knowing that other children before them had also moved rather frequently.
Then, of course, there is the fact that these stories are among the very best depictions of pioneer and farming life available. The life on a prosperous farm tended by an industrious family is described so well that most Waldorf Schools include Farmer Boy as part of the third grade farming block. The rest of the books give such vivid and accurate portrayals of pioneer life on the prairies that historians still reference them as outstanding descriptions of daily life during the mid-1800s.
And did I mention that children love them? They do. A lot.
These books are ideal as read-to’s from age 4 upward. Many third graders will be able to read them on their own.