Laura Ingalls and her family live deep in the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Their log cabin is surrounded by miles of trees, and their closest neighbors are bears, wolves, and panthers. Daily chores keep Laura and her sister Mary busy, but they still find time to go exploring with their dog, Jack. (source)
I remember reading all of the Little House books as a kid - as well as watching the TV series - and adoring them. I seriously wanted to be Laura Ingalls - I even had a bonnet that I used to wear everywhere, complete with braids in my hair. For my internship, I host an intergenerational book club for elementary aged girls and their favorite adults (worked out to be a mother-daughter group, but I loosely defined the role of the adult in an effort to include every family situation), and the girls decided that they wanted to read Little House in the Big Woods for our meeting in May. I was really excited about the opportunity to revisit one of my childhood favorites.
To be completely honest, this just didn't live up to my memories. I actually found it to be quite dull. Wilder describes her childhood, but she does so without much storytelling style at all. Her tone is preachy at times, which is something that I had forgotten. I think that this book is very representative of the mindset held by authors of children's literature at the time when this was published. It's still a sweet book, but if I'm being honest, it just doesn't hold up to so many other children's books that are out there. I appreciate the historical value of this text... but I also think there are other books that are more likely to ignite a passion for learning about history.
The Little House series still holds a special place in my heart. I still look forward to the day when I'll read these books with my own daughter -- but I'm far more excited to introduce her to the TV series, which manages to entertain while still delivering a wholesome message. I'm also more excited to read books like Beezus and Ramona and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to her - books that, again, have a wholesome message but are still fun to read. It makes me sad that my experience reading this book this time around wasn't what I'd remembered, but I guess that's just how things work out sometimes. Are there any books that you read and loved as a child, but were disappointed by as an adult?