Tuesday, January 4, 2011

On the Banks of Plum Creek - Laura Ingalls Wilder

Summary:  At first the Ingalls lived in a sod house in Minnesota.  Then Pa built a clean new house beside Plum Creek, buying materials for it on credit, intending to pay for them with the fall wheat harvest.  But just before the harvest, a strange glittering cloud suddenly blocked out the sun.  Plunk!  Something dropped on Laura's head, and fell to the ground.  It was the biggest grasshopper she had ever seen.  Millions of them descended over the country side--and then there was no wheat crop.  (Summary from book - Image from harpercollins.com)

My Review: On the Banks of Plum Creek begins with the purchase of a hole in the ground. Well, pretty much. Pa and Ma Ingalls trade their wagon and oxen for a dugout (a sod home carved into a creek bank) and some land. For Mary, Laura, and not-so-baby Carrie, it is an incredible adventure. My girls sure thought so! I can’t count the number of times they told me that they wanted to live in a dugout too.

Soon afterwards, Pa Ingalls begins to till the land, and takes out a loan against the next year’s wheat harvest to build a beautiful home out of pine boards. My children were amazed at the illustrations of this new house and especially the shiny wood stove that sat in the corner, looking entirely different from our electric one. Throughout the coming year, the Ingalls family has many adventures and tribulations. Whether it was attending school for the first time or going to a town party, enduring a grasshopper plague, blinding snowstorms, or the snobbery of that despicable Nellie Olsen, my girls were hooked.

What I liked most about these books, after the exciting events and illustrations, is that they provide many opportunities to discuss sound principles with my children. We discussed the dangers of getting into debt, the importance of listening to and obeying our parents, how temptation works in our lives, and much more. When we finished this one, my children leapt off the couch and ran downstairs for the next one (By the Shores of Silver Lake). I LOVE that they love this series!

My Rating: 4.5 Stars. It’s hard to beat the first book, but this one sure tried.

For the sensitive reader: I had a hard time reading certain parts with a straight face (e.g. Laura and her Christmas…ahem…muff). I’m sorry. I wish I could be more grown up about it, but talking about how silky it was nearly made my husband and I cross-eyed trying to keep it together. There were also a few other words that mean different things now (like p***y and gay), that an older child might pick up on. Mine did not.

Sum it up: A wonderful continuation of the life of Laura Ingalls and her family.

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