Little House on the Prairie (Little House, No 3)

by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Paperback, 2008




HarperCollins (2008), 352 pages


A family travels from the big woods of Wisconsin to a new home on the prairie, where they build a house, meet neighboring Indians, build a well, and fight a prairie fire.


(2252 ratings; 4.1)

User reviews

LibraryThing member ctpress
Little House on the Prairie was a step up from Little House in the Big Woods - more is happening here, there’s more tension, funny and exiting and dangerous episodes.

Again I’m fascinated with the detailed description of the pioneer life on the prairie - starting almost from scratch making a
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house, furniture, fishing, hunting, sowing etc. I’m impressed with Charles’ and Caroline’s ingenuity and industriousness - I love Charles unwavering optimism and zeal in everything he does. The family’s joy over the simplest pleasures, their contentment with little things - their close relationship with their neighbors - I love Mr. Edwards and his Christmas/Santa story.

Settling down in the Indian territory wasn’t however not the smartest move the family did. Their situation becomes more and more untenable and eventually they are forced to leave the prairie in fear the US Government will throw them out.

The interactions with the Indians is interesting. The feelings goes from hostility and narrow-mindedness (The Scots), fear and displeasure (Caroline), curiosity and fascination (Laura) and caution and friendliness (Charles).

Of course one has to bear in mind that the novel is a mixture of mainly nostalgic reflection on the past, history seen from the point of view of the settlers and fiction.
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LibraryThing member lycomayflower
I didn't remember this one nearly as well as Little House in the Big Woods, but many of the incidents (and many of the illustrations) were familiar and welcome. I was struck in Big Woods by the ingenuity and courage of the settlers living on the frontiers in the 1870s; in Prairie I am no less
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impressed by those qualities, but the circumstances of the Ingalls family in this installment gives me the willies in a way that the realities of living in the Big Woods did not. Surely it is because I have always lived nestled among hills and under trees that the descriptions (and illustrations--maybe even especially the illustrations) of the wide open prairie and the notion of a house just plopped in the middle of all that space quite literally gives me the shivers. Do you know a person who must sit with his back to the wall in a restaurant because that open space behind him is discomfiting? That's how I feel about houses. They ought be backed up against the foot of a mountain or at the least tucked in a clearing with tall trees all around. I'm glad, I guess, that there are people who like that kind of open environment (both Pa and Laura in this book seem to take to the flat openness of the prairie particularly well) as not all of us can live at the foot of mountains--there just aren't enough of them. But I leave them to it.

The constant fear regarding encounters with restive Indians lent a sense of suspense to Prairie which was completely lacking in Big Woods. The fears I had about attitudes toward native peoples in this book were perhaps somewhat overblown. There is certainly othering going on here, and a fair amount of prejudice, but Laura (mostly) seems innocently fascinated by the Indians and Pa (though he definitely carries a nice load of white-settler-entitlement around with him) adopts a live-and-let-live attitude, talking his neighbors down from their fears on more than one occasion. Some passages made me squirm a bit, but keeping in mind the context in which the book was written and the time it recalls, and considering the perhaps more-enlightened-than-typical attitude of Pa, those passages weren't enough to ruin a series of childhood favorites. I would be fascinated, however, to read some articles delving into the portrayal of the native peoples in this book and providing some discussion of the political and historical situation. I'd particularly like to read some opinions on the scene where Laura becomes enchanted by an Indian baby with "hair . . . as black as a crow and its eyes . . . black as a night when no stars shine" and demands that Pa "get [her] that little Indian baby!" as well as on the fact that Pa's sense of morality when it comes to usurping the Indian land seems to stem directly from what the government says is okay. If Washington says the Indian Territory is open to the settlers then he's going to have his land and the Indians can go lump it. If they say not, then he'll move on. That the Indians are obviously living on the land and that they were clearly there first seems not to enter into it for him.

Pa, in fact (and to a somewhat lesser extent, Ma), has become one of the most interesting aspects of these books for me on these rereads. How does he know how to make a life on the prairie anyway? That he should be a competent frontiersman generally can be taken as a given since when we first meet him in Big Woods he's already been making a successful go at that kind of life for several years (at least). But how does he know what the specific dangers of the prairie are? And how to deal with them? As a child, I accepted Pa as the all-knowing performer of crafty miracles and protector of home and family (I knew men like that myself, after all), but as an adult I begin to want to see him as a real person and to question him and to suspect that sometimes his pioneer spirit endangers his family (a number of minor catastrophes in Prairie, which are presented as things from which Pa saves the day, are actually his fault). The question of what children know and what adults know and keep from the children, I think, is a central theme in this book, and one which probably sails right over the head of children readers (except for the few times when it is made explicit as part of the action). I count six instances in Prairie when the whole family is a hair's breadth away from a horrible death, and much of what is interesting to me here (beyond the details of the day-to-day business of staying alive, which is always fascinating) is how these two adults try to--and mostly succeed at--giving their children a happy life which is free from fear and dread.
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LibraryThing member brendanus
This series of remembered stories of a late nineteenth century peioneer family constructed a classic image of the americna pioneer. In fact this was not a very successful family, but it was one that met the challenges with ingenuity, courage and an indomitable spirit. It became everyman's family.
LibraryThing member Hamburgerclan
I think if I had to build my kids' library from scratch, this would be one of the first books I'd put on the shelf. It's the account--based on Ms. Wilder's life, but fictionalized--of a pioneer family's journey from Wisconsin to the Kansas prairie and their attempts to settle there. The tale weaves
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together little dramas, lovable characters and all sorts of information about pioneer life in 19th Century America. It's nigh perfect for kids and adults alike.
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LibraryThing member emithomp
Overall, I think this is an exciting story that draws the reader in. Wilder can make a description engaging with simple vocabulary that most children can understand. Most of the story is comprised of retelling of how the days went by. The family was literally out in the middle of nowhere, and yet
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they were always busy. Modern children can be fascinated by what life was like before cell phones and even television. I found myself especially amazed by the chapter detailing Pa building a log cabin and a barn almost single-handedly with nothing but a hatchet and a spade.
However, it must be said that there are a number of unpleasant racial elements to the book. It's a memoir of the time when Manifest Destiny was king, and the "white folks" believed it was their right to farm wherever they pleased. As Pa says on page 237, "When white settlers come into a country, the Indians have to move on." The American Indians are described as smelly (because they wear skunk skins) and scary. However, to a small child who had only heard stories, of course a new kind of person would be frightening. Lack of a common language only compounds the problem.
On the other hand, the entire family is saved from malaria by Dr. Tan, an African American who works with the Indians. "He was so very black. (Laura) would have been afraid of him if she had not liked him so much." (191) The story is told from the point of view of a small child who has spent most of her life with a very small selection of people. Of course she's frightened of new things, but she shows the ability to learn.
Because of the elements that stress white society over others, I would not recommend this book for children younger than eight. However, it could be used as a valuable teaching tool for older children as they study this period of American history. The book does not apologize for its opinions, it simply states how things were, and that can lead to fascinating conversations.
Above all, Wlider's style makes the reader want to see what happens next. When Ma says there's "a whole year gone," (321) it is just as surprising to us as to her. The book could go on forever, and no one would mind. The characters and setting fascinate enough to make up for her shortcomings.
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LibraryThing member eldang
Having grown up outside the US, I never read these books as a kid, and they're actually very interesting as an adult still learning about the country. In fact, I'm not convinced this should be a childrens' book, because being written from a small child's perspective means it only vaguely hints at
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target="_top">the evil backdrop of the story. But the first-person perspective brings the experience of being a Pioneer much more alive than any historical text I've read, and as someone who very much buys into the "the Pioneers perpetrated gross acts of ethnic cleansing" view espoused by that linked article it was actually kind of refreshing to read an account that humanises them.

This book romanticises the Pioneer life considerably, but not to the point of airbrushing out all the difficulties and discomforts, and it was actually a lot less of a propaganda tract than I had expected it to be. Definitely worth reading as an adult, with knowledge of the background.
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LibraryThing member sjmccreary
I can't believe I've lived my entire life without reading this book. A charming story - autobiographical - about a young girl whose family decides to leave Wisconsin and move by covered wagon to the Indian Territory where it is less crowded. They settle on the Verdigris River, 40 miles from
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Independence, Kansas in the southeastern corner of the state. It explains how Mr Ingalls built their cabin, the fireplace, the furniture and the stable for the animals. It told about the neighbors who lived near them and came to help when it was needed. It also described a prairie grass fire and how the family worked to save their home from the flames. The references to the Indians, though, were a little disturbing. One of the neighbors states that "the only good Indian is a dead Indian". Although Mr Ingalls chides him for that comment, he is of the opinion that since the white settlers have come, it is time for the government to move the Indians farther west. The book was first published in about 1935, so I suppose it would express views of another generation. I had an illustrated edition, and enjoyed it very much.
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LibraryThing member klordy66
Appropriate for grades 2-6 because it is a novel suitable for this age range. Because she was very young when the events in the story occurred, the details are time-relevant, but are known as fiction rather than autobiographical. This book is the first in a series of historical fiction novels by
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Laura Ingalls Wilder. The story is about a young girl, Laura Ingalls, who traveled across the country with her family in a covered wagon while she was growing up in Pioneer America. This novel focuses on her journey from Wisconsin to Kansas, and all of the trials and tribulations the family faces along the way. Addresses family, journeys, adventures, fear, excitement, and Pioneer times. This novel is great for independent reading or shared reading in the classroom.
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LibraryThing member JaneSteen
Where I got the book: my daughter's bookshelf.

Finally did it, folks. Read that American childhood classic everyone else but me seems to have read. Of course I didn't grow up in America so I have an excuse!

And I liked it. Almost ran upstairs for the next one. Sure, the Indians are portrayed as
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savages who steal and threaten, and the Ingalls family (who had set up housekeeping illegally in the Indians' territory) make absolutely no attempt to understand or really communicate with them. But that's a pretty typical portrayal of the mindset of white settlers, who believed in their Manifest Destiny to overrun the land, that the only good Indian was a dead Indian, that they were biologically superior and that they would "improve" the land they lived on. All books written in the 19th and early 20th centuries reflect those unpalatable attitudes; our 21st century attitude is to feel outraged because we consider ourselves superior to our ancestors, but I don't suppose many of us would seriously consider inviting the tribes back into our suburbs. Perhaps our great-grandchildren will.

And if the Ingalls family were anything to go by, those settlers were as ballsy as they were naive. They appear to have survived that year on the prairie mostly by dumb luck. If nothing else, this little book gives you an idea of the difficulties and dangers of homesteading and portrays just how frightening the plains must have appeared to the hapless women and children who got dragged into their menfolk's big adventure. I bet Ma Ingalls breathed a huge sigh of relief as they left the Little House behind.
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LibraryThing member DWMSLibrarian
Little House on the Prairie tells the narrative of the Ingalls famiy: Ma, Pa, Laura, Mary, and little Carrie as the leave their little house in the big wood in Wisconsin and travel to the prairie land of Kansas. There, they build a house and live only two miles away from their nearest neighbor,
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which is close enough for Pa. This story, which takes place in the 1800's, truly gives us an authentic idea of what life was like in the pioneer days. The details in this book are astounding--from the clear descriptions of Pa's hard work you can figure out how to build (and keep, as Ma shows us) a cabin and how to build a chimney. By reading this you can also figure out how to eat simply. While there is not much of an actual story--a family moves from one place to another and then sets up a home--it's an interesting red, and it feels accurate and authentic. While there is no author's note, this is somewhat of a memoir for Laura Ingalls Wilder. The values are consistent with what I have read about the time period: family is important, hard work is expected, and children should be seen and not heard. The illustrations, while not many, are indicative of the time--simple yet complete. Great for ages 7 - 12, especially girls.
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LibraryThing member dmfox
We are reading this as a family with my 6-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son. Of course, there was a bit of nostalgia in choosing a Laura Ingalls Wilder book. It is a wonderful way to bring history in for my son who loves history and the personal experiences of girls in that time frame for my
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daughter. I just love hearing the stories again! Reading this as a family gives us the opportunity to all be part of an "intellectual" dinner-time conversation!
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LibraryThing member sparklegirl
I really like this book, it is about Laura ingalls as she travels across the prairie.
LibraryThing member hlselz
The continuing story of Laura and her family as they head west to "indian terrritory." Just as interesting and addicting as the first book.
LibraryThing member catz
This caught my attention and took me to the prarie but didn't get my full attention.
LibraryThing member simss
This book is about a family who moves from Wisconsin to Kansas and they build a house on the prairie.

My personal experience I have moved all my life because my dad is in the military I have been in over 7 states. and my dad gets stationed here for good.

Classroom extensions are have students tell
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about places they have moved to and things that they have seen.
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LibraryThing member mj113469
This a story about a families trip from Wisconsin to Kansas. The story takes place during the 1800’s, when people were exploring new land and were moving out of the towns into Indian country. The trip was hard for everyone in Laura’s’ family because of the bad terrain the family had to cross.
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The book tells the story about the thought times they encountered while trying to get to Kansas. When they reached Kansas Laura’s Pa stopped in a spot and said that he would build a cabin right there.
I enjoyed this book because I used to watch the show when I was a younger. This book started making me think of how much simpler times must have been back then. This book teaches you how things were back then but makes it very interesting.
One could have the students watch some of the shows to help them get a better idea of what things were like. Or a teacher could have older people of the community come a talk to the students of what they remember about those times.
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LibraryThing member ccole
Story through a child's eyes in the pioneer days. 3rd & 4th grade students loved it!
LibraryThing member mrsarey
In the second book in the series, Laura and her family leave the Big Woods and move to a homestead in Kansas. Charles builds a house, they meet Mr. Edwards, and encounter Indians.
LibraryThing member goodnightmoon
How simple, and how perfect. Listening to this story, I just couldn't believe how effectively Wilder captured the sense of the times. It is almost too good to be true - I wonder how much is embellished. As a teacher, I will definitely use this book to teach wagons moving west, Indian relations,
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building a log cabin, etc. Such a clear insight into history.
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LibraryThing member gillis.sarah
I'd love anything that Laura Ingalls WIlder ever wrote.
LibraryThing member cemccamy
This is the second book in the Little House series. The storyis about the Ingalls family and their move from Wisconsin to the Kansas Territory. The family encounters many dangers along the way. This is a great read aloud book for younger grades.
LibraryThing member selfcallednowhere
Another strong outing. Not my favourite of the series, but I'm glad it's so popular.
LibraryThing member tjsjohanna
Some things that stood out for me in this reading: awesome description of building a log cabin. Wow! And talk about avoiding the neighbors (although I guess in the end they got more than enough of neighbors when the natives got all in an uproar). Reading about Christmas gifts occurred at the
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perfect time for us - but my kids weren't having any of it!
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LibraryThing member ovistine
Another excellent rendition of one of the "Little House" books by Cherry Jones. This one recounts the Ingalls family's trip to the prairie and the building of a house there. Unfortunately, all isn't perfect -- there are "wild Indians" and some issues with territory -- but overall it's clear that
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Laura loves life on the frontier.
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LibraryThing member Luv4Duckies
Everything in the house had been loaded onto the covered wagon. Laura and her family were moving west towards new expansion to live among the indians. But Laura is not sure about leaving her friends and moving.


Original language


Original publication date

1935 (1e édition originale américaine, Harper & Row)
1978 (1e traduction et édition français, Bibliothèque du Chat Perché, Flammarion)

Physical description

7.6 inches


0064400026 / 9780064400022


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