HarperCollins Publishers, 1996

The World of Little House is not a new book, but since I just discovered it, and I’m not sure how I missed it before, and since a late publication date is really on a guideline here, it will be September’s book.  Afterall, our real purpose is to highlight quality nonfiction for school library collections, and as such, it belongs.

Some of the nonfiction written about Laura Ingalls Wilder has an adult audience in mind, but this title is for Little House fans at the age when they first fall in love with the books.  Although Collins and Ericsson address some of the unhappy times in the Ingalls’ lives, the content is handled gently, as if Ingalls were friends of ours.  And, I suppose, they are.

After the first introductory chapter about the Ingalls and Wilder families (complete with family trees), each chapter focuses on one of the Little House books, beginning with the Big Woods.  There is a short summary of Laura’s age, her activities and the major events in that book.  Floor plans of whever Little Houses are in that book are included, along with illustrations of what the outside of the houses and grounds looked like.  The new illustrations by Maze are carefully done to compliment the Garth Williams illustrations that are also used throughout the book.

A delightful part of each chapter is instructions how to make or cook some favorite things in book that is the focus of the chapter.  For example, in the Big Woods chapter we learn how to make Molasses-on-Snow Candy, and in the chapter on By the Shores of Silver Lake, we learn how to Waltz and Polka!  Unlike the Little House Cookbook, where it is difficult to impossible to find all the ingredients, all the supplies needed for these activities are easy to find and inexpensive.  For example, to make butter you need heavy cream, a slotted spoon, and a quart-sized jar with a lid.  Easy.

The World of Little House would be helpful for anyone covering hisotry of the pioneers or Westward Expansion.  Students who are discovering the Little House books will have a ball with all the new information and activities.  Teachers will flip for the content, timeline, photographs, bibliography, and guide to seeing the Little House sites.  This one is a must-have.

Dewey: 813.52 Interest Level:  Grade 3 and up

Younger readers might like: Laura’s Album: A Remembrance Scrapbook of Laura Ingalls Wilder by William Anderson.

Older readers might like: The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure.

Fiction pairing:  The Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder (what else?)

On the Web:

Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum in Mansfield, MO.

*** The museum now has a Traveling Panel Exhibition that will come to your school.  There is no charge for the exhibit – they only ask that each school ship it to the next school.***