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Life turned unkind for the Ingalls family on Plum Creek. Scarlet fever struck them all, leaving Mary blind, and Pa doesn't know how to pay doctor bills. But then a job working with the railroad leads them to the Dakota Territory, 'by the shores of Silver Lake'.
There are such vivid descriptions of nature, after all, Laura has to be Mary's "eyes" from now on, and there's plenty of singing (when I read the books, I used to wonder what Mary's song, "Highland Mary" sounded like; now I know)!
They settle into the surveyor's house during winter, snug as bugs, and live off the land. Laura's wild heart feels the difference of this prairie; it's so big, so quiet, so different from Indian Territory, and she yearns to go west as more and more people settle down.
But here she learns her future: she's to be a teacher. And when they hear of a school for the Blind, there's a dream to send Mary.
Expect beautiful writing, rousing tunes sung by cousins who laugh together and race little black ponies, the friendship of Mr. and Mrs. Boast, and always: there's Laura's laughing spirit!
6 of 11 people found this review helpful
I don't care if Rose Wilder Lane DID covertly coauthor this series, heavily edit it to promote her own ideals of rugged individualism and limited government, and, together with her attorney and heir Roger Lea MacBride, use it (and the money it generated) to heavily promote Libertarian political ideas and skew American politics to the right (see Finding America, Both Red and Blue, in the 'Little House' Books, new York Times, Feb. 7, 2017, and other articles marking the recent 150th birthday of Laura Ingalls Wilder).
Okay, maybe I do care. But this invaluable series was literary comfort food 🥘 during my childhood, I tried to pass that comfort on to my own kids, and listening to the series now on Audible is almost equally comforting, despite my more informed understanding of the complicated truths behind Laura's and Rose's stories. I recommend it even for progressive families, with the caveat that certain ideas (Ma's hatred of Indians; treatment of "darkies" and silence on issues of slavery; girls, trained early to be quiet and ladylike, married off as young as age 13) should be discussed with children during the reading.
Narrator Cherry Jones does the series justice. Yes, her singing is off-key (but was mine any better, when I read these books aloud to my own kids? Almost certainly not), and some mispronunciations will grate on the experienced reader (Big Slough is regrettably pronounced "Big Slawf"; Aunt Docia's name is pronounced "Doe-SEE-uh"). But she captures the excitement and joie de vivre of Laura (and in this volume, cousin Lena)--as well as the seriousness of Ma and Mary, and the wisdom of Pa--perfectly. The fiddle music that accompanies the series adds a lot to the experience.
3 of 15 people found this review helpful