Saturday, April 28, 2012

Chapter Books A to Z: L is for Little House on the Prairie

I am pretty sure it was my grandmother who first introduced me to the Little House on the Prairie books when I was a kid. She often took us to the library and loved to show us the classics. I fell madly in love with them and made my mother buy me the entire series. Grandma was always horrified that we bought so many books, but I read and reread these until their covers were almost worn. I am surprised that I still have some of the copies.

The last time I read them was back in college. I was taking a class called "Math for Elementary Teachers." I was bored out of my mind, because I had just switched over from being a math major. Calculus III to expanded notation was a huge drop. I don't remember why I felt compelled to reread the books, but I did in six weeks during that class.

Laura was one of my heroes. She had long brown hair, always in braids. I wanted really long hair in braids. I think I remember even being disappointed that my eyes were not brown like hers. I loved her sense of independence and her relationship with her father. I also loved learning about history. I would try to imagine what it was like growing up back in the 1800s and tried to mimic some of their tasks. I even used to invent little games of pretend that involved the Little House characters. I think I even used to write my own "fan fiction," using the characters.

I was also a big fan of the TV series, but had a hard time with that parallel universe. The two were fundamentally the same, especially in the beginning, but then became vastly different.

In the past several years, new stories based on the original books by Laura Ingalls Wilder have become available. There is a fictional series about her mother, Caroline, as a child. I just cannot bring myself to read any of these spin-offs. I am sure they have some kind of value, but it just rubs me the wrong way. I would love to hear from people who have read the others.

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