Little Town on the Prairie

by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Other authorsGarth Williams (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 1953



Local notes

Fic Wil



Harper & Brothers Publishers (1953), Edition: Revised, 303 pages, $16.99


Pa's homestead thrives, Laura gets her first job in town, blackbirds eat the corn and oats crops, Mary goes to college, and Laura gets into trouble at school, but becomes a certified school teacher.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

303 p.; 5.5 inches


0060264500 / 9780060264505



User reviews

LibraryThing member TeresaInTexas
Of all the "Little House" books, this one is the happiest to me. Laura finally gets some decent friends to hang out with (Mary Power and Minnie) and even gets a social life during these early teenage years. I always read the chapter on The Fourth of July on that holiday--it really captures the small town atmosphere of celebrating in a community.… (more)
LibraryThing member MerryMary
Possibly my favorite of the series. Life for the Ingalls' improves after the hardships of the Long Winter. Laura grows up, adjusts to living in town, starts looking to the future. She develops the characters of her friends a bit more, although her main focus is, as always, her family.
LibraryThing member Queensowntalia
Simple, embraceable writing about life in the 1800's. Here, follow the continuing saga of Laura, Ma, Pa and the rest of the gang.. this time with Laura's first real taste of romance.
This entire series is WONDERFUL, I adored it growing up, and I intend to share it with any kids I have someday down the line.… (more)
LibraryThing member Hamburgerclan
The "Little House" series offers excellent glimpses into the life of midwestern pioneers of the late 19th Century. Of course some glimpses are more interesting than others. "Little Town" talks less about pioneers eking out a living from the wilderness and more about the social life of a young teenage girl. A tad boring for my tastes--though maybe I'm just longing for a tale involving exploding spaceships. Anyway, the book IS well written, and a must read if you are reading the whole series. So check it out.
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LibraryThing member rainbowdarling
At the start of Little Town on the Prairie, there seems to be a shift from the other Little House books. Where previously in the stories, Laura has been a little girl, suddenly she is taking on real work, has an interest in what her clothes and figure look like and is taking notice of the things going on in town for purely social reasons rather than what seems fun to a little girl. A lot of this story focuses around the family's intent to get Mary to a college for the blind and then about Laura's school times and the social 'whirl' of town. The stories are sweet and quaint in a way that is classic and comforting. The things that were important to girls then is so different than now, and the stories told in this book highlight that while still making it interesting for the reader who may not understand the conventions of the time.… (more)
LibraryThing member selfcallednowhere
Well, finally making it through the last 2 books in the series. This was about as entertaining as the others, but I had to knock a star off for the minstrel show scene, which was problematic, to say the least (even more so than the descriptions of Indians in earlier books). I know you have to read in the context of the time and all that, but it was still painful to read, and I don't look forward to having to explain it to my eventual children when they read these books. Other than that, a good read.… (more)
LibraryThing member gillis.sarah
Again, not one of my favorites, but still good.
LibraryThing member wordygirl39
Life becomes a bit better for the Ingalls and Laura.
LibraryThing member scuddahoo
This is my favorite of the "Little House" series. The story of getting a kitten to fight off the mice was a funny story! Especially, Pa's dream that a barber was cutting his hair, when it was a mouse! Yikes!
I also like Laura's defense of her sister, Carrie, against teacher Eliza Jane Wilder, her future sister-in-law.
One of my favorite portions of the book, besides the Garth Williams illustrated cover, is the copy of Laura's first teacher's certificate. Neat!
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LibraryThing member Kiwiria
This is one of my favourite LIW books. I'm fascinated by the descriptions of life in town. Two things that struck me in particular were a) how modestly they lived and b) how quickly they had to grow up. Just think of Laura, going off to teach at age 15. I was no where near mature enough for that at that age. And they all seemed so selfless too - always passing on things to each other, because they didn't need them themselves, and thought the other person would like them more.… (more)
LibraryThing member dgadkins88
The Ingalls family packs up their covered wagon and sets off for the big skies of the Kansas Territory, where wide open land stretches as far as the eye can see. Just when they begin to feel settled, they are caught in the middle of a dangerous conflict.
LibraryThing member amerynth
Having read nearly all of Laura Ingalls Wilder's books about her life growing up in the West, I found this one a little disappointing. Most of the books I really enjoyed but this particular volume wasn't as interesting to me as the rest. Perhaps it's because there is less about Laura's family, with Mary off to college, and more about her interaction with other townsfolk. This doesn't make it a bad book -- on the contrary, I'm glad I read it -- it just makes it one of my least favorites of the series thus far.… (more)
LibraryThing member June6Bug
Classic, must-read series for kids of all ages.
LibraryThing member LynleyS
I don’t think I’m the sentimental type, so I was surprised to find the Laura Ingalls-Wilder miniseries, which aired on daytime television during one winter school holidays, quite moving.

As a kid I read the first in the series, ‘Little House on the Prairie’ and if I hadn’t read so much Enid Blyton I might be a more rounded adult reader, and I might have even read the rest in the series. But I didn’t. I do remember the image of the rag-doll made for one of the girls at Christmas time and compared what the girls had to my own over-privileged idea of Christmas festivities. I’m sure it affected me; I was always very careful of my toys. I also grew up reading a whole heap of Mormon books which I asked for at a Church fair. I didn’t even know they were religious in nature until I overheard Mum joking about my religious bent to one of her friends. I must have been about nine. I stopped reading them after that, but I think I might have been sullied, because I seem to have traditional Christian values despite the fact I’m an atheist.

I’m sure the Little House series would have a similar effect on young readers. Apart from the underlying Christian tones, the books are full of action and full of the sorts of house-keeping detail that fascinates little girls. I used to play house, constructing floor plans around the base of oak trees with ‘walls’ of fallen dried leaves. The idea of setting up a house from scratch on the Prairie of the frontier is satisfying.

As a kid I didn’t understand the bits about the Indians and the wild west and all that. I’m sure American kids would have no such trouble, but to a kid growing up in New Zealand, a bit of explanation from an adult may be required. That’s possibly what led to me not reading on. If I’d understood a bit of the American history – which is not on the NZ curriculum – it might have helped.

I’ll certainly give these books to my own daughter to read, along with a good discussion on history and settlement and native people and making the most of what you’ve got.
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LibraryThing member wenestvedt
I like this book, even though Laura doesn't seem her happiest here: following the development of the community is neat and novel.
LibraryThing member tjsjohanna
In this book, the reader has to face the fact that Laura is really pretty grown up. She is contemplating her future as a school teacher and Almanzo Wilder is beginning to court her. Mary has passed out of the main thrust of the story since she has gone away to school. Reading about how the town entertained itself with spelling bees and school exhibitions and such was interesting. In the age of t.v. we forget how important social gatherings were.… (more)
LibraryThing member mrsarey
Laura is growing up and wants to help send Mary to college. She spends time making friends, studying and getting to know a young man named Almanzo.
LibraryThing member librisissimo
Substance: After the long winter, through the summer, into the next winter. The Oleson family returns, as nasty as ever. Laura is coming on 15 when the book starts.
LibraryThing member SeriousGrace
At this point in the "Little House" series Ma, Pa and the four daughters, Mary, Laura, Carrie and Grace, have moved to town so that Pa can finish the homestead. This is their second year in De Smet and the little homestead is growing. Pa's farming abilities are increasing with the addition of chickens, corn, and a bigger garden. The town is growing as well. A church has been built and the community is getting together for Friday Literary nights at the school where games like spelling bees, charades and debates are held. At this time Mary is sent away to a college for the blind and Laura is nearly sixteen years old. She is on her way to becoming a school teacher. Her focus is on studying hard so that she will be ready for the career when she turns sixteen. Another step towards adulthood is the growing, albeit confused, attraction to Almanzo Wilder. His courtship is odd to her because she thinks of him as "old" and more of a friend of her father's than hers.… (more)
LibraryThing member PollyMoore3
As appealing and delightful as all the series. I love the account of making Mary's dress. Yet read the description of De Smet: "The town was like a sore on the beautiful, wild prairie......" And "Ma hated Indians". There is a darker side to these books.
LibraryThing member krystalkay
This book would work for most school ages; 1st+.
Most people are familiar with Little House on the Prairie stories and show; but this book is an addition to the series collection. This book takes the reader on a journey of Laura, Mary, and their friends as they deal with hardships while growing up. It was interesting to read about the lifestyle at their age versus more recent times.
I feel that students will benefit from learning of these differences. A chapter can be read aloud to the class on a daily basis. Students can work together foreshadowing their thoughts about the book and what will happen next.
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LibraryThing member rakerman
Classroom chaos. Blackface. Revival Meeting. Not recommended for young children.
LibraryThing member satyridae
Laura is growing up, still constrained by her society. Seriously, she's supposed to sleep in her corset? Some of the cultural differences are really striking- f'rinstance, this passage where Grace, who is all of four or five years old, starts to cry when her parents are going away for a week:

"'For shame, Grace! For shame! a big girl like you, crying' Laura choked out."

Yes, I know, Laura and Carrie are also trying not to cry, but the shaming is so toxic from my modern viewpoint that it skews the whole scene for me.

And then there's the 4th of July speech, cheered lustily by all the townsfolk:

"...They had to fight the British regulars and their hired Hessians and the murdering scalping redskinned savages that those fined gold-laced aristocrats turned loose on our settlements and paid for murdering and burning and scalping women and children..."

Again, context, context, context... but it's tough to swallow nonetheless.

There are some lovely scenes here, though. When Almanzo scoops Laura up and delivers her to school, when the best speller wins the spelling bee, when the letter comes from Mary, when Laura gives herself a lunatic fringe- those vignettes go a long way towards redeeming the book.
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LibraryThing member sriemann
See review for Little House #1... and add my personal opinion that sometimes Wilder gets waaaaaay too detailed about the clothing. I guess she was like many today who are really into clothes, but those were extraneous details to me.
LibraryThing member EmScape
Laura is growing up! She is one of the oldest girls in school and studying all she can so she can get a teaching certificate to earn money to keep her sister in college. She attends Literaries, Sociables and parties. The town is growing and more of this book takes place in society with neighbors than any other in this series. Recommended.… (more)

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