The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder, illustrated by Garth Williams
Age range: 8-12 | Series: Little House (Book 6) | Paperback: 352 pages | Publisher: HarperCollins (April 8, 2008)
About The Long Winter:
The town of De Smet is hit with terrible, howling blizzards and Laura and her family must ration their food and coal. When the supply train doesn’t arrive, Almanzo Wilder and his brother realize something must be done. They begin an impossible journey in search of provisions, before it’s too late.
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About the Author:
Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in the Wisconsin woods in 1867. She wrote the Little House books based on her own experiences growing up on the Western frontier. Just like the characters in her stories, Laura and her family traveled by covered wagon across the Midwest and experienced many of the same adventures. She finally settled down in Mansfield, Missouri with her husband, Almanzo, where she lived until her death in 1957.
My Thoughts on The Long Winter:
This was my least favorite book in this series when I was younger, but reading it as an adult is a different experience. As a child, I found the book kind of boring and sad. It was so similar to the winters we experienced in Alberta, yet I couldn’t see past the monotony of Laura’s everyday existence to the hardship that they lived through.
As an adult, this story takes on a much different light. I noticed each time Laura looked at the dwindling sack of wheat and the shrinking pile of potatoes, wondering what they were going to do once their meager supply of food ran out. I understood what an incredible and brave thing Almazo did when he took Cap Garland and went looking for wheat, not knowing if or when another blizzard would roll in and trap them on the prairie. Those two boys may have saved the lives of half the town when they did that. I also noticed the kindness Almanzo showed Pa, time and again throughout that winter.
I read The Long Winter out loud to my kids, but I’m not sure they gathered as much out of it as I did. I think it’s one of those books you need to be a little older to understand and appreciate.
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