Review: Little House in the Big Woods

Series: Little House: #1

I have read or listened to these books so many times with my children, but somehow never actually gotten around to writing up reviews.

Not that I expect there are many out there that have never heard of these books until reading this and are now going to go out and read them right now. But as these are reminders of what I liked in a book (and what even happened in a specific book), on we go anyways! 😄

When the fiddle had stopped singing Laura called out softly, “What are days of auld lang syne, Pa?”
“They are the days of a long time ago, Laura,” Pa said. “Go to sleep, now.”
But Laura lay awake a little while, listening to Pa’s fiddle softly playing and to the lonely sound of the wind in the Big Woods. She looked at Pa sitting on the bench by the hearth, the firelight gleaming on his brown hair and beard and glistening on the honey-brown fiddle. She looked at Ma, gently rocking and knitting.
She thought to herself, “This is now.”
She was glad that the cosy house, and Pa and Ma and the firelight and the music, were now. They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago.

These are the quasi-non-fictional stories of Laura Ingles Wilder, who grew up in the American frontier of the late 1800s. In this book, they start out in the titular Big Woods of Wisconsin, living a relatively simple life of farming and hunting.

It’s a slice of life story as much as anything, detailing the lives of Laura and her family rather than following any overarching plot. That’s just not how lives work. And having read a number of other (purely fictional) books in the genre, I appreciate it. Sometimes, it’s just nice to live another life for a while, even if that life isn’t alway pleasant in turn.

It’s fascinating to see the little aspects of life. What’s important to Laura and her family. The sugar snow and maple syrup are always big huts, but the delight in finding a honey tree, the brand new innovation of a threshing machine, and even all the little mentions of what they eat, it’s all a window into ‘days gone by’.

Overall, I quite enjoy this book. It’s weird knowing that it was life for Laura and her family–as it was for many people of that time. But in my opinion, worth a read.

Side note: I’ve most often and most recently listened to the narration by Cherry Jones. She is the voice of these books and I do quite enjoy her narration. Worth a listen.