The "Little House" series of children's books has been beloved and very popular for well over 50 years now. I grew up with them and actually acquired a new set of them a few years ago... and I'm still reading and re-reading them.
I recently re-read the sixth book in the series, The Long Winter, and I have to say that it made a much stronger impression on me when I read it as an adult.
The Long Winter is the sixth book in Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series. The family has 160 acres of Dakota land to tend and live on out in the new prairie town of De Smet. This book follows the family from an early October blizzard to weekly blizzards straight through to the spring and their struggle to survive. The town was very new and the residents simply weren't expecting or prepared for such a severe winter.
This book is classified as historical fiction. The stories included in this book are based on the Ingalls family's experience but they may not all be entirely true. Apparently there was a young couple who were recently married and wound up living with the family. They refused to help to do anything that family members did to help keep the fire going and the house warm. The author didn't include any mention of them in this book, but it is documented in one of her biographies.
I've read The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder many times over the course of my life. As I child I found the story easy and interesting to read, but as an adult now I find it to be absolutely amazing. These books have always emphasized how independently and frugally the family lived, but it is really amazing to see how they did without, did what they could, and managed to survive throughout that awful winter in South Dakota. I thought the story was a bit disturbing when I read this book as a child, but, as an adult, I am absolutely amazed and humbled when I read about how people managed to survive, live, amuse themselves, and look forward to the future in such meager circumstances.
The Long Winter isn't one of the most pleasant and entertaining books in the Little House series for obvious reasons. That being said, it is still one that captures the reader's attention and keeps them interested from start to finish. It is a must-read for anyone who is reading the Little House series but also is something that can be read alone as a glimpse into the difficult and dangerous lives of homesteaders.
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