On the Way Home: The Diary of a Trip from South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri, in 1894

by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Hardcover, 1962


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HarperColl (1994), 128 pages


Describes the sights and events a frontier family encounters travelling from South Dakota to the Ozarks.

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LibraryThing member rainbowdarling
As an avid reader of the Little House books from a fairly young age, I looked forward to reading this one to add to my established knowledge of prairie/frontier life as established by the nine books of the Little Hous series. This one is a definite departure from the polished, fictionalized
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retellings of the family's life through the first years of Laura's marriage to Almanzo. It gives a much more frank picture of the scenes that the family came across while traveling, and is not as quaint and charm-filled as the semi-fictional stories of her childhood were. Laura reports not on fashions or even as much on landscapes, but on prices for land, for crops and for livestock. She describes some of the people she meets and tells how the family is faring on their trip south toward Mansfield. The book is interesting but it is definitely different than the other stories. I view it as a valuable addition to the series, more appropriate, perhaps, for adult fans than for children who would likely wish to stay in the somewhat fanciful world in which Laura resided in her books.
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LibraryThing member kprinc3
On the Way Home exposes a new insight that readers do not get in the other little house books because it is written in the form of diary entries. This biography takes readers on a journey from the Wilder’s home on the prairie in South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri. Many children will hear the
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names of these states and automatically start yawning, but Wilder has a way of recording her journey with her husband and young daughter that excites the reader and makes their long road trip seem kind of fun. The biography begins with a description of the family’s home in South Dakota and ends with the years the family spent in Missouri written by Laura and Almanzo’s daughter Rose Wilder Lane. During those parts of the book, Rose tells stories about her mother that readers do not often get to see. We learn that Laura wrote most of the Little House books in her home in Missouri. There are also a lot of rare photographs featured throughout the book, in both the parts written by Rose and in Laura’s diary entries. These photos can help put a true face to the author that so many only know as a little girl.
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LibraryThing member MrsLee
An interesting end to the "Little House" books, but written long before them. These are Laura's diary entries of the trip made back to Missouri from their pioneering efforts in South Dakota. Her daughter Rose also wrote some of her memories of the trip. Very interesting journal of emigrant travel
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in the 1890's. Many emigrants were headed back east. A little bit of sadness, defeat, optimism and hope, along with a lot of determination to succeed somewhere, speak through the pages of this journal.
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LibraryThing member t1bclasslibrary
This book contains a diary written by Laura Ingalls Wilder during the trip from De Smet, South Dakota, to Mansfield, Missouri. The diary is not the most interesting, except for the occational insight (much of it is the cost of the local farmland). More interesting is the preface and post-text by
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Rose about life before and after the trip.
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LibraryThing member MerryMary
We bought this in DeSmet when our daughter was around 10 - on one of our "Laura" vacations. I grew up loving the series, and made a believer out of her as well. Now to get my grand-daughter on board!!
LibraryThing member wordygirl39
Laura, Almanzo and Rose go to Missouri. Kids won't like this book--it feels anti-climactic and too serious after the Little House series, but it's one of those important books to me as an adult reader of Laura's stuff. You can see the beginnings of the writer in her--know that she will someday
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chronicle her life.
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LibraryThing member amerynth
"On the Way Home: The Diary of a Trip from South Dakota to Mansfield" is mostly journal entries made by Laura Ingalls Wilder during a move from Dakota to Missouri. Her daughter Rose fills in some of her own recollections from the cross-country move. The entries aren't particularly interesting --
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they mostly focus on the cost of land in different areas, the status of crops and the temperatures. Not really necessary to read this tome as part of the series.
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LibraryThing member AmphipodGirl
A diary of Laura's, flanked by reminiscences of Rose's. worth a read for the die-hard fan, skippable otherwise.
LibraryThing member vonze
"On The Way Home" is basically a travel diary that Laura Ingalls Wilder kept when her and her family (Manly and Rose) moved from South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri. It takes place after the events in "The First Four Years." It records dates, amounts of rain, food, has descriptions of the land,
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other travelers they found, bodies of water, and the cost of goods.

There's really not a lot of story to it. If you love Laura Ingalls Wilder, you'll enjoy learning more about her. If you love history, you'll enjoy learning what an individual in 1894 deemed important, their questions and concerns about moving to a new area.

Honestly, this would be a little slow and tedious for most kids-now-a-days to read. As an adult, and the granddaughter of farmers, I can appreciate their concerns about their farming livelihood. When Laura talks about berry picking or their corn crop, I can almost hear my grandmother's voice.

So, yeah, if you want some history, some farming, and some more Laura check it out.
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LibraryThing member atreic
Laura's diary is, as you might expect for someone who spent much of her childhood nearly starving, obsessed with the price for an acre of land and the yield of that land. She travels across america in a ruthlessly practical list of numbers, all jotted down in short stark journal entries.

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wraparound stories at the start and end of the book are much more like the main books, which is insightful in itself as to how they were written. The terror of having made it all the way to Missouri and to have lost their entire life savings is very well described, as is their stoic reaction to it.
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8.25 inches


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