Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge Wrap-up for 2019

The end of February closes the Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge for this year. I hope you had fun with it, and I look forward to hearing about what you read!

A week from today I’ll use random.org to draw a name from the comments on this post to win either The Little House Cookbook compiled by Barbara M. Walker, Laura’s Album: A Remembrance Scrapbook of Laura Ingalls Wilder by William Anderson, The Little House Coloring Book, or a similarly-priced book related to Laura. A week should give some of us who are still reading time to finish up and post about our reading. You don’t have to have a blog to participate: you can tell us what you read in the comments here. If you have a blog, you can either let us know what you read in the comments or share the links back to any reviews or challenge-related posts from your blog or even from Goodreads if you review books there. Due to shipping costs, I’m afraid I can only ship to those in the US, unless you’d like a Kindle version.

For my part, I read:

Fairies

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Fairy Poems, compiled by Stephen W. Hines, illustrated by Richard Hull. I had forgotten that Laura wrote such poems until Rebekah mentioned them. Laura is usually more matter-of-fact than fanciful, though some of her descriptions are lovely. So I was interested to see how she did with fairy poems. Hines provides a brief introduction, telling how Laura came to write the poems for the San Francisco Bulletin. Then he shares an adaptation of an essay Laura wrote called “Fairies Still Appear to Those With Seeing Eyes.”

There are only five poems in the book, spread out over several pages with a number of illustrations. The poems are very old-fashioned, naturally, as they describe the various activities fairies are involved in. I’m not normally into fairy poems, so I don’t know how they would measure up for young readers today.

Honestly, I didn’t care for the illustrations much. I think I would have preferred lighter colors, maybe a watercolor effect. I liked the detail of the plants and animals, but not the fairies and people.

Have you or your children read this book? What did you think?

LIW song book

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Songbook compiled and edited by Eugenia Garson.

The copy I checked out from the library looks like the one above, but I saw other copies on Amazon with a Garth Williams illustration of Pa with his fiddle on the front.

What I appreciated most about this one was Garson’s research. She looked up every song mentioned in the Little House books, provided a few sentences of background for it (when it could be found), and a quote from the LH book where it was mentioned. Sheet music is provided for all the songs, making me wish I could play the piano enough to pick out the tunes. I was familiar with just a few of them. This would be a nice resource for anyone wanting to learn more about music from this era.

Traveler

I also read On the Way Home and The Road Back by Laura Ingalls Wilder. These two books have been packaged together with West From Home, Laura’s letters to Almanzo while visiting Rose in San Francisco for the World’s Fair, into one volume called A Little House Traveler. Since I had read West From Home a few years ago, I did not read that one at this time. The first is Laura’s record of moving with her husband and daughter by covered wagon from South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri; the second is her journal of traveling back to South Dakota to visit her two remaining sisters 40 years later in an un-air-conditioned Buick. I reviewed them here.

I also wrote Why Laura Ingalls Wilder Is Still Worth Reading because some question whether she is any more. No, she and her family were not perfect. But we can still learn from them.

That’s it for me. How about you? Remember, leave a comment on this post about what you read or did for the challenge before Thursday of next week to be eligible for the drawing.

Update: The giveaway is closed. The winner is Rebekah! Congratulations!

(Sharing with Carole’s Books You Loved)

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8 thoughts on “Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge Wrap-up for 2019

  1. No entry for me, as I didn’t get around to reading anything Laura. But, thank you for mentioning the fairy poems. They are new to me and I will look them up. Like you, my first thought on looking at the book was that the illustration (mainly the fairies) looked really strange. I’m guessing though that the illustrations were done after Laura had died? They give me a Wizard of Oz/munchkins vibe! Your songbook thoughts are interesting. They remind me that I have 2 CD’s of Little House music. I haven’t listened to them in years. Next year I think I will, and then I’ll report back for the LIW challenge. Hopefully a “listening” challenge will work rather than a reading challenge 🙂

  2. The Laura songbook intrigues me – I made a Spotify playlist of the songs mentioned in Little House in the Big Woods last year, but I know very little about any of them.

    I felt much the same way you did about the illustrations in the fairy poem book – Susan’s description of a “munchkin vibe” seems apt. But since I’m much more a word person than a picture person, I’m more than willing to let that pass!

    I wrote up a brief description of what we did for the challenge this year here. We only managed to get through the fairy poem book and Little House in the Big Woods, but we did lots of cooking to go along with our reading – and the kids and I are planning to continue reading Laura throughout this next month! Thanks for giving us the impetus to get reading Laura again year after year!

  3. Hi Barbara,
    I know I’m so late for this, but I just got my review on my blog for the book I read during your LIW challenge. 🙂 For what it’s worth… I read ‘West from Home’ for the first time, and greatly enjoyed it. Here’s my review: https://inthebookcase.blogspot.com/2019/03/book-review-west-from-home.html

    I never knew before that Laura wrote poetry. That’s interesting…! I probably wouldn’t like those illustrations from the fairy book either (judging the book by its cover, that is), but the poems sound interesting for the historical importance. 🙂

    Blessings,
    Tarissa

  4. Pingback: End-of-March musings | Stray Thoughts

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