We just read Little House on the Prairie, the third book in the Little House Series. We got it out of the library, and I am trying to bust through them to get the series read before school starts again.. we'll see if we make that goal, but this one only took about a week! Super fun.
The Story: Laura's family decided to leave their little house in the big woods, and set out across the countryside in their covered wagon, to settle in the prairie in Kansas. Pa built a new log cabin for them there, and they set up their new home. There were challenges, not the least of which was the fact that their new home was in the middle of Indian territory..
The Good: Wonderful historic detail! The ins and outs of building a log cabin, complete with chimney and fireplace, forging a homestead in the middle of the wild prairie, traveling cross-country by covered wagon, American Indian-settler relations... there was a lot to learn here, and it was learned in wonderful ways. As a character, Laura is very easy for Evalina to relate to. I asked her what her favorite part of the book was, and she said "Laura!" There were a lot of teaching moments - especially about American Indians. She hasn't really learned much about native Americans in school yet, so it was good to learn a bit here. The story is compelling and very well written.
The Bad: Right in the beginning, there was a near tragedy, and the outlook didn't look so good for a bit (I will not spoil it here), and there were tears. There are some tense moments - a prairie fire, a bout of malaria, scary moments with the Indians... but, nothing enough to make me not want to read these books to her!
The Verdict: Love it. Evalina loved it. We learned a lot (yes, I learned some, too!) and can't wait to read more of the books. We plan to make some trips to local places this summer to reinforce some of the learning - I think there is a working farm in the area where she can learn about milking cows and such. And there's a log cabin in the area as well that we want to go check out. Totally classics, that I think would be fun for a boy or a girl. It might be better for a slightly older child, with a little more historical background, but it wasn't too far over her head. I can't wait until we are all done reading the books, and then I want to get the television series for the kids to watch. I cannot believe I never read these books myself. That's one great thing about reading to your kids - you get to read some of the books you always meant to read as a child but never got around to! The fun is never ending!