As a girl, I loved these books. I pictured myself living on the prairie, playing in the stream, churning butter with Ma. My own Ma even made me a pioneer dress complete with floppy bonnet (a portent of things to come?), and I remember staring at the fabric, wondering if Laura ever saw big bolts of white eyelet in the wonderous General Store.
Reading these as an adult has given me a new respect for both the writing and the story-telling. I can still clearly picture the Big Woods of Wisconsin, with the snow falling silently as the girls peek out the real glass windows. I can see the swaying grass atop mile after mile of Kansas prairie. Jack the bulldog, and older sister Mary are always there, too.
The books have also given me a renewed appreciation for the comforts of my life. Tales of cheese-making, hog butchering, and long summers with no fresh meat make my own dreaded trips to the grocery a little more bearable.
More than anything, I was astonished at how long Laura lived, and the things she must have seen in that lifetime! Born in 1867 in a log cabin, she died in 1957 in her own 10-room house in Missouri. She crossed the prairie in a covered wagon, and lived to see the invention of radio, motion pictures, automobiles, electric light, the telephone, air travel, and television.
I can't wait to read the whole series again, and to encourage Big Sis to start reading them, too. I might even break out my Little House Cookbook and try a few recipes to get her in the mood.
**Her opinion is that they are "a little too Pioneer-y". When she was informed that "Pioneer-y" is a part of her heritage, and that she had ancestors who walked across most of the United States, she was much more intrigued.