Guest post by Ann Weller Dahl
Since the first “Little House” book was published in 1932, this classic series has remained popular, both in this country and around the world. It was so popular, in fact, that a television series loosely based on it ran for years in the 1970s and 1980s and is still seen daily in reruns. Although often the television version drifted far from the original stories, it is important to note that the basic theme of the love, strength, and security of the family unit was an essential part of every episode. Many people began reading the books because they first saw the television show.
Why did these books become classics that are still loved today? Here are some reasons. Knowing them will make the reading of the books even more meaningful.
- The books are about REAL people who lived in REAL places that a person can visit today.
- Mrs. Wilder DESCRIBED people, places, and things so well that the reader feels as though he/she is there with the people or in those places or doing the same things.
- Mrs. Wilder used a number of LITERARY DEVICES that made her words come alive: e.g. figures of speech, comparisons/contrasts, introduction of new vocabulary, use of individual themes for each book and frequently repeated mini-themes running throughout the series, and the introduction of characteristics associated with people in the stories – “Laura is a person who likes…” “Laura is a person who dislikes … ”
- The books get LONGER and MORE DIFFICULT as the children in the stories grow up and as the readers themselves mature in their reading levels.
- The books offer a “LIBERAL ARTS EDUCATION” as they introduce different aspects of life in the late nineteenth century.
- The series offers much opportunity for individual or family/classroom REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION.