On the Banks of Plum Creek (Little House, Book #4)

by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Other authorsGarth Williams (Illustrator)
Paperback, 2004



Local notes

PB Wil


HarperCollins (2004), Edition: New title, Paperback, 352 pages


Laura and her family move to Minnesota where they live in a dugout until a new house is built and face misfortunes caused by flood, blizzard, and grasshoppers.


Original publication date


Physical description

352 p.; 5.13 inches


0060581832 / 9780060581831



User reviews

LibraryThing member psychedelicmicrobus
I read all the Little House books as a kid (and I've read the whole series more than a few times as a grown-up). I always enjoyed this installment, and was fascinated and disgusted by the grasshopper episodes recounted here. I always try to remember how this family took a lot of hard knocks but never gave up. They always dusted themselves off and kept at it. That's admirable. I think these are books that can still be relatable to modern readers.… (more)
LibraryThing member amandamay83
Another one i hadn't yet read. I didn't love this one as much as the others. It's perhaps more of a let down because I just read Farmer Boy, which was such a delight. All I can think after reading this is, "Good god. Pa was a freakin' moron." I mean, really...he was a selfish twit. He was like a squirrel, always on to the next shiny thing, never mind that he's dragging his wife and kids all over creation.

And the whole, "grasshopper weather" thing...really, Pa? You thought it was just "some Norwegian thing"? Pretty sure a grade school kid could figure that one out. Also, his going out in a blizzard...wtf was he thinking? Once again, I know kids who have better sense than that. He was a grown man. What the hell was he thinking?

I'm starting to dislike Pa as much as I hate Mary.

Anyway, glad I read it. Not bad, just not as good as the others.
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LibraryThing member MerryMary
A rather abrupt jump in the chronology of the series. Laura left out some difficult and sad parts of her life. When this story begins, sister Mary has already lost her sight. Wilder also completely left out an unsuccessful move to Iowa and the death of her baby brother.
LibraryThing member LibraryCin
In the 4th Little House book, following Laura Ingalls-Wilder and her family, they have just arrived in Minnesota, where they trade a few of their things with a Norwegian farmer for his land and sod house, built right in to the hill. The girls go to school and church for the first time. The Ingalls family has to deal with drought and grasshoppers on their farm, as well as winter prairie blizzards.

This is where many of the characters from the tv show are from; we meet Nellie Oleson in this book. One of my favourite chapters was their first Christmas tree at the church. These books are so very good at descriptions: the descriptions of the farm, the sky, the weather, the grasshoppers, the blizzards… These books are just really enjoyable!
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LibraryThing member Crowyhead
This was my favorite when I was a kid, but I can't quite recall why.
LibraryThing member wordygirl39
One of the sweetest and richest in the series. You know at the end of this one that Laura's childhood is over.
LibraryThing member rainbowdarling
On the Banks of Plum Creek is possibly one of the more interesting tales of the family's journeys. The live in a dugout, deal with blizzards and wild animals, but also have neighbors and a town close enough to visit when the weather isn't too bad. The cast of characters changes slightly because of the nearby town and suddenly life seems to be more than just about the Ingalls family. I liked the storytelling, too. Laura doesn't claim that she was a model child, or even that her sister Mary, though better behaved, was a model child. The two squabble, they struggle with tempers, jealousy, greed, temptation... normal human afflictions. I felt like I was a part of the lives of the people in the story, so alive they came off of the page.… (more)
LibraryThing member Hamburgerclan
I'm not 100% sure, but I think the last Little House book that I've read is the first I've read. I remember one of my grade school readers had an excerpt from this volume. Anyway, I digress. Through circumstances not entirely in my control, I've ended up reading the Little House series out of order and though this book is in the middle of the series, I've read it last of all. I was expecting a slightly modified version of Little Town on the Prarie, namely a series of vignettes from the ongoing life of Ms. Wilder. Instead I was a bit surprised to read a tale of the Ingalls family getting knocked down by this problem and that, then getting back on their feet to try again. It made me wish I had made the effort to read the series in order, so I could experience the overall sweep of the series. (And perhaps Ms. Wilder's growth as a writer?) Oh, well. What more can I say than, "check it out?" (Well, I suppose I could add that Michael Landon took a LOT of liberties with the source material when he did the television show....)
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LibraryThing member punxsygal
Another good tale in the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder. For some reason, I did not remember this one. After 94 inches of snow last winter, I had a good appreciation of the blizzard scenes.
LibraryThing member gillis.sarah
This is in my top three Little House books. This one takes place when Laura is still young and spunky, which is so fun to read about.
LibraryThing member hlselz
The best so far of the Little House series.
LibraryThing member selfcallednowhere
Probably my favourite book of the series. A great read.
LibraryThing member MeghanOsborne
"On the Banks of Plum Creek" is the story of the Ingalls family and their lives during their stay in Minnesota. Many disasters and trials befall the Ingalls family, such as the grasshopper plague and a long blizzard. However, the strong love and close ties amongst these family members enable them to overcome these historically accurate occurrences.

My Personal Reaction:
I have loved this book since my childhood! The series is so well-written it feels as if you are really in the story. Though many of the accounts of accurate historical occurrences are embellished upon by the author, there is a lot of truth in her books that are reflective of the times.

Classroom Extension Ideas:
1. Have students create a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast wagon travel with our current car or airplane travel.
2. In this story, Ma tells the girls a "rebus story." Have students create their own rebus stories using an event from "On the Banks of Plum Creek," and compare and contrast it with today's graphic novels.
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LibraryThing member denisecase
This is the story of the life of Laura Ingalls wilder. She lived in minnesota in the 1800's. She recounts her childhood memories on the farm and in school. You get introduced to her family and friends and the era comes to life through her writings.

I have a lot of memories of these books. They were the first chapter books I read as a girl. I have also read them to my children. It is fun to hear her recount her life. We also enjoy the t.v. show. It is however very different from the books. As always the books are better.

I would read this book to the class and also find some handouts about life in the 1800's. We could talk about horse and buggy's, how life would have been without refriderator and haveing to grow your own food.
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LibraryThing member FMRox
Read these as a child and loved them all. I had the 9 boxed set volume.
LibraryThing member wenestvedt
A lot of pretty hair-raising action in this installment, what with "cruel Indians," a terrible storm, and a bear in the corral; I might wait 'til the kids are six or eight before they get this one.
LibraryThing member tjsjohanna
This chapter in the Ingalls family is marked by high hopes that end up unfulfilled. I can't even imagine a cloud of grasshoppers so thick that it blots out the sun and covers every inch of ground so that you can't walk or breath. And blizzards that happen all winter long, one after another. While the experiences are certainly interesting, I found myself wishing for better days for the family.… (more)
LibraryThing member eesti23
This is the fourth book in the Little House on the Prairie series. The Ingalls family has now moved to Minnesota where they start out by living in a sod house. With the promise of the wheat crop, Charles gets the wood to build the family a nice, new clean house. However, grasshoppers arrive and ruin all of the crops and leave the family with choices to make. This is the book that the well known character, Nellie Olsen, appears. Many know here from the TV series.… (more)
LibraryThing member momma2
So far this is our favorite Little House story. The kids were surprised at how much action and adventure there can be settling down on a farm. Fires, floods, grasshoppers and blizzards kept even Blake excited to hear what would happen next. And Laura is at just the right age for them to identify with. We have jumped right into the next one and hope it will be just as exciting.… (more)
LibraryThing member ovistine
Third in the Little House series, again read by Cherry Jones. Quite good! This one deals with the Ingalls family's settlement in... was it Minnesota? At any rate, they start to grow wheat but are attacked by grasshoppers. Not a very happy book for the Ingalls family!
LibraryThing member amerynth
The fourth installment of Laura Ingalls Wilder's memoirs starts off a little more slowly than the other books, as the family moves to Minnesota and establishes another homestead. For the first portion of the book, the Ingalls family lives in a dugout house and the tales are more mundane. However, soon Charles builds a house for his family and familiar names and faces start cropping up for fans of the television series. I enjoyed the tales at the end of the book far more than the beginning.… (more)
LibraryThing member goodwink
The Ingalls family moves to Minnesota where they start out by living in a sod house. With the promise of the wheat crop, Charles gets the wood to build the family a nice, new clean house. However, grasshoppers arrive and ruin all of the crops and leave the family with choices to make.
LibraryThing member BookConcierge
Book on CD performed by Cherry Jones

Book four in the “Little House” series finds the Ingalls family in Minnesota after their failed attempt to homestead in Indian Territory. They trade their horses to a bachelor Norwegian farmer who wants to head West, and settle into the sod house he’s built near the Banks of Plum Creek. Seven-year-old Laura will go to school for the first time in this location and the family’s relative proximity to town will help see them through a tough year. This book also introduces the spoiled Nellie Oleson.

As is typical of Wilder’s novels, based on her own early life, the story is full of the innocent adventures of childhood – playing along the creek, exploring the prairie, meeting new friends in a new school. It also clearly depicts the hardship and dangers of pioneer life – wildfire, thunderstorms, blizzards and a creek that can be an inviting place to play one day and a raging torrent ready to drown a young child the next. But the Ingalls family is blessed with a great deal of love and good parents who instill valuable life lessons on their young children.

Cherry Jones is wonderful performing these books on audio. She is so expressive in conveying the excitement of a new place to explore, the joy of a small gift of candy, the fear and anxiety of being left alone as a storm approaches, and the love of a family who feels safe when they are together. Listen with your children or grandchildren; and if you haven’t any, listen on your own.
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LibraryThing member kathleen586
This was my favorite Little House book when I was a child. I was eight years old when I first read it—the same age as Laura in this book.
LibraryThing member librisissimo
The Ingalls family moves from Kansas to Minnesota, into a sod hut cut into the side of a hill. Pa builds a clean new house with the help of a bachelor neighbor), going into debt for the materials, but his first wheat crop is eaten out by grasshoppers, and he has to move away to work. Ma and the girls learn how to manage on their own, but the hardships are mitigated by the beauty of the homestead and their love for each other.
Whether all of this happened to Laura's family or not, she once more "stands in" for the experiences of many of the pioneers caught short by their ignorance of the cycles of nature in a new land.

I started reading the "Little House" books because of my daughter-in-law's love for them, and because she was reading them to my grand-children. I somehow skipped that phase in my own youth, as my reading was not exactly "age appropriate" after about the 2nd grade, going pretty directly from Dr. Seuss & Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle to Robert Heinlein & Co.

I actually think I am enjoying them more now than I would have then, with some knowledge of history and raising a family, and a greater appreciation for Laura's writing style, which consists of non-nonsense narrative, sometimes blunt descriptions of harrowing events, a firm remembrance of what little girls are like, and a lyrical descriptive facility that conveys her love for the beauty of the landscape and animals that made her childhood joyful despite its tribulations.
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