Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Books & Authors from My Childhood - Part Three

Little House series

What other books were dearly loved in my childhood? The Little House series - and I'm not just talking about the books that tell about the growing up of Laura Ingalls Wilder, but also about the other girls in her family. To be precise, there are five different series within the Little House. They are:

- Martha Years, four books written by Melissa Wiley
- Charlotte Years, four books written by Melissa Wiley
- Caroline Years, seven books written by  Maria D.Wilkes (#1-4) and Celia Wilkins (#5-7)
- Laura Years, nine books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- Rose Years, eight books written by Roger Lea MacBride

There are also other books, such as the Lost Years, a spin-off series, etc. but these are the main books of the series.

The Martha Years is about a girl (Laura's great-grandmother, to be precise) living on the highlands of Scotland. The Charlotte Years is about Martha's daughter living in the United States of America. The Caroline Years tells the story of Laura's mother, the gentle girl who lost her father but gained another. Then, of course, we have the Laura Years - the story of how Laura and her family travelled from one place on the prairie to the next, either being kicked out by the government or by hard times that none of softies (including myself) today would be able to endure. Finally, we have the Rose Years - the story of Laura's daughter growing up in the Ozarks - becoming a young lady quite different than her ancestors would expect.

The stories of these five girls are both interesting to read about and also absolutely lovely. There are moments that will make you laugh or cry, moments that will make you shocked or feel happy inside.

Which of these series is the best? Without a doubt, it is the original books - the Laura Years, written by Laura Ingalls Wilder herself. While the other books are all partly fiction because they are just based on letters, biographies, etc., we know that the events in the Laura books are close to how they really happened. There are some exceptions, as there are to most rules. For example, the age gap between Laura and her husband Almanzo was shortened in the books (except for the last book in the series); I'm guessing it was changed to avoid shock at how large it really was (about ten years). However, the reason of the more accurate information is not my reason for picking the Laura Years as having the best books. It is because of the stories themselves. My mom would agree with me, I'm sure - she loves the Laura books.

Are any of the Little House books disappointing? If there are any, I would name the last book in the Rose series because Rose chooses a path in life that is very different from what I was expecting/hoped.

Alyianna's rating: 9 out 10 (it would be 10 out 10 if I was just looking at the Laura Years)


Petra said...

I loved these series growing up! I didn't read all the books in each of them, but it was so exciting to be able to continue Laura's story, in a sense, by following her family. Martha was my favorite just because her setting was so radically different from the others.

Wilder did change things to make her life a better fiction, so the fact that the other books are based off letters and biographies rather than written by the protagonists themselves doesn't disturb me. Interestingly, I just saw an article discussing Dr. Beth Tarini's article in Pediatrics arguing that Mary could not have gone blind from scarlet fever, but probably had brain fever. Laura Ingalls Wilder would have probably known that, but scarlet fever is a fairly common and dramatic plot element and she decided to use it.

Alyianna said...

Very true. :) I know I may focus mostly on the Laura series, but that could be due to the fact I know it better (and have all the books from it). I enjoyed all of the other books, of course.

That is very interesting, and makes sense. Thanks for sharing. :) I remember seeing a comment on a YouTube video of one of the episodes of Little House on the Prairie - in this comment, someone stated that because "Laura hadn't been confident enough about her writing, Rose edited the first two (?) books to death".