This is our new chapter reading book at school. When I introduced the book to the children, I talked about all the chapter books we have read up till now – fiction books. We talked about the difference between fact and fiction, real and pretend. “Charlotte’s Web” is pretend. So is “Mr. Popper’s Penguins”, and so on.
And then came the fun part, telling children our new book is not fiction. “It is a true story! It happened nearly 160 years ago!” Yes, I was up on my feet pacing, as if I had found the last unicorn. Frankly, introducing this to children was better than that.
While “Little House on the Prairie” is by far the most popular book in the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, I am especially fond of “Little House in the Big Woods”, the first book in the series, before the family packs up and heads to Kansas in a covered wagon. This is the story of Laura and her family. It sets the groundwork for life in the 1870’s. The story is told through Laura when she was a little girl.
I stop reading all the time to ask children questions, such as “Why didn’t Pa just go to the store?” We have many conversations about the lack of cars, refrigerators, light, and electricity. There were no roads, and the big woods went on for miles. Laura and her big sister Mary had never seen a town, nor a store. As you can imagine, it takes some time to read! I’m giving children some understanding of life back then- history and geography.
My favorite parts in the book are Pa’s stories, interspersed throughout the book:
These stories within the book are the flavor, the excitement, and just what children love. In some ways, when I read them aloud, I feel like I’m telling a ‘Jennie Story’. They are much the same. I guess I enjoy them as much as the children do!
In March of 2020, we closed our doors at school due to Covid. The first thing I did was set up a YouTube channel so I could continue to read aloud to the children. They needed normalcy. They needed their teacher. They needed me to read to them. Every school day, from March to June, I posted one picture book and one segment of chapter reading. We had just started this book, so I jumped in and picked up where we left off at school. Here is my reading the part with “Grandpa’s Sled and the Pig”:
After we finished this book, I was able to read aloud the entire “Little House on the Prairie” book. If you ever want to hear Jennie read, go to YouTube Channel and type in Aqua Room.
P.S. My grandmother was exactly the same age as Laura’s daughter, Rose, and Rose was her name, too! Her life in a log house in West Virginia was much the same. Stay tuned…