- Paperback: 32 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins; New edition edition (Feb. 2 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 006446234X
- ISBN-13: 978-0064462341
- Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 0.3 x 27.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 68 g
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #103,137 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Pioneer Girl: The Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder Paperback – Feb 2 2000
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"Laura Ingalls Wilder's many fans will delight in this inviting biographical overview in a picture-book format, graced by Andreasen's dreamy landscapes, glowing prairie skies and warm character portraits". -- Publishers Weekly
From the Back Cover
The pioneer spirit lives on...
Readers around the world know and love Laura, the little girl born in the Big Woods of Wisconsin and raised in covered wagons and on wide open prairies. Now Little House fans can learn more about "Half-pint" in this, the first picture book biography book of Laura Ingalls Wilder.
With a simple, glowing text by noted historian and Little House scholar William Anderson, and glorious paintings by Dan Andreasen, Pioneer Girl is a very special portrait of a writer whose classic books and poineer adventures have made her one of the most popular literary figures in America.This picture-book biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder tells the remarkable story of the pioneer girl who would one day immortalize her adventures in the beloved Little House books. Written in simple, glowing text by noted Little House scholar William Anderson, and illustrated with glorious paintings by artist Dan Andreasen, this wonderful first biography captures the very essence of the little girl called ‘Half-pint,' whose classic books and pioneer adventures have made her one of the most popular literary figures in America.
This picture-book biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder tells the remarkable story of the pioneer girl who would one day immortalize her adventures in the beloved Little House books. Written in simple, glowing text by noted Little House scholar William Anderson, and illustrated with glorious paintings by artist Dan Andreasen, this wonderful first biography captures the very essence of the little girl called ‘Half-pint,’ whose classic books and pioneer adventures have made her one of the most popular literary figures in America.
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If a child has never heard of Laura before, I suspect that they may not be very interested in this book because the challenge of cramming a biography covering 90 years of a person's life within the publishing industry standard of a 32 page picture book, has hindered the author's ability to present many captivating stories and interesting details about her life. They may also not "get" the interest in her life (in particular) and perhaps may view this more as a story of "just" a life of a pioneer girl in more of a historical context of hearing what life was like in America back then. There is much to learn about "just" the Pioneer Days aspect of this book, though. (Although my wish is that all children would read and know the wonderful stories contained in the Little House series.) The book doesn't really capture the unique and endearing qualities of Laura's personality and it is not a funny book. The text sometimes seems to rush through her life seeming to mostly focus on why they decided to move to a new place and what they liked there and then repeating the format through her many moves. (Those of us who already know these basics about her life won't see a problem with this, it will then be seen as more of a nice synopsis and summary of her life.)
There is a greater amount of text per page than in most picture books; perhaps explaining why the publisher has determined this is for a 9-12 age range. However, the font size is quite large and the language and information is so watered down that a 3 or 4 year old could understand it. What suffers here is the illustrations. The illustrations sometimes are of a more boring scene in the opposing page than could have been chosen. For example one page shows Laura and Mary doing homework at the kitchen table and while that is a part of the opposing pages' text, so is the more dramatic story of a terrible blizzard, which forced the family and other families to live together in the town building. While the people were starving, two boys (one being Almonzo Wilder) risked their lives by braving the storm to get food for everyone, not only surviving themselves but saving the lives of the townspeople. It seems to me that this exciting story would have made a better illustration.
As a read aloud, my two boys aged three and five sat quietly to listen to this story, they are familiar with the Little House chapter books and with the reruns of the TV show from the 1970s. They both enjoyed this story, as did I. If you want more details of Laura's life I advise you to read the entire Little House series of chapter books. I feel that children as young as 2.5 or 3 enjoy that series of books as a read-aloud. There are also books on the market that discuss Laura and her daughter Rose's life in much more detail if you are interested. There are also craft books and cookbooks as a companion to the Little House series.
I appreciated the author's focus on trying to capture what life was like in Pioneer days. The author did a great job at expressing the hardships of life and really appreciating how much physical hard work must be done to survive. He portrayed the hopes and dreams of Laura's father, why they wanted to move to a certain place, why they had to move on, etc. There were always good reasons for doing a certain thing. The strong family bond is very apparent and their love for each other is very clear, for example, when Laura was 15 and working as a teacher and lived away from her family she missed them and was happy to come home on weekends to be with them. Laura's adult life was full of change and adapting, and both she and Almonzo's commitment to do hard work in order to survive is expressed. ...
This book summarizes Laura's life, explains the values and commitment they all shared, and expresses the difficulty of life in Pioneer Days. It is interesting for both Laura-fans and for anyone interested in learning about life in the American Pioneer Days.