Little House in the Big Woods

Last updated Monday, July 23, 2007

Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder
Illustrator: Garth Williams
Date of Publication: 1976
ISBN: 0060264306
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Dec. 2004

Synopsis: Laura Ingalls' story begins in 1871 in a little log cabin on the edge of the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Four-year-old Laura lives in the little house with her Pa, her Ma, her sisters Mary and Carrie, and their trusty dog Jack. Pioneer life is sometimes hard, since the family must grow or catch all their own food as they get ready for the cold winter. But it is also exciting as Laura and her folks celebrate Christmas with home-made toys and treats, do the spring planting, bring in the harvest, and make their first trip into town. And every night they are safe and warm in their little house, with the happy sound of Pa's fiddle sending Laura and her sisters off to sleep. And so begins Laura Ingalls Wilder's beloved story of a pioneer girl and her family. The nine Little House books have been cherished by generations of readers as both a unique glimpse into America's frontier past and a heartwarming, unforgettable story.

Note to readers:
•  Readers: You don't have to read the entire book. Instead, aim to read until page 82 (the end of the Christmas chapter), and tell the children that if they want to learn what happens next, they can check the book out at their school library.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you ever lived on or been to a farm? What do you think that it is like?
•  What's Christmas/ Holidays like for you?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  How different was Laura's life from yours? What parts did you like better? What parts would have been hard for you?
•  How life be like without electricity? Without running water, stores to buy food, cars?
•  How do they use every part of every resource to live?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a present for a family member or friend as Laura's family did -- dolls, a frame, etc.
•  Write your story of Christmas/Holidays, from a third person perspective.

Special activities:
•  Sing carols.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!