Then we moved on toe Little House on the Prairie. It's no accident that everyone calls the series of books by this name and not by the name of the first book as is usually done. This second book is much better written than the first. I suspect that Laura Ingalls Wilder had a ghost writer help her with her books after the first one. In fact, after doing some research, I found that her daughter happened to work as a book publisher. That explains so much!
Little House on the Prairie, in addition to being better written, explains some U.S. history about the 1800s, including the homestead act. It also shows the prejudiced attitudes toward the Native Americans. It's kind of shocking to read a book to your 7-year old when Ma Ingalls says on at least 3 occasions, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian." Yikes! Pa Ingalls is pretty pompous and can act like a jerk a lot of the time too. They're so different from their television counterparts! It would be hilarious if the show were made today with a more faithful adaptation from the book!
We're currently reading the third book, On the Banks of Plum Creek. Pa isn't quite as jerky in this one, although we're currently reading about how he's stiffing his girls from receiving any Christmas presents--for the second year in a row. Actually, the girls did get Christmas presents in the second book from the kind Mr. Edwards who bought them their own tin cup so they wouldn't have to share a cup! Best Christmas ever, according to Laura Ingalls.
While Pa isn't as jerky in this book, he seems to be making one horrendous decision after another. He uprooted his family from their little house in the prairie right after they finally were settled and ready to start farming. He moved them up to the cold of Minnesota where he bought a "house" that's dug into the side of a creek bed. I'm guessing it never occurred to Pa that creeks can flood. Great!
While Ma is not going around disparaging Indians in this book, she's acting more jerky! When she irons, she makes her girls touch the iron with wet fingers to see if the water on their skin sizzles. If so, the iron is ready! The girls love this game! Great! During tonight's passage, Ma asks the girls what they want for Christmas. She then essentially tells them that they're not going to get any presents and that Santa Claus doesn't exist. She points out that it's impossible for one man to deliver presents at the same time throughout the world. Gee, Ma! Thanks for stealing the magic away from our daughter.
Luckily, our daughter immediately disagreed with what Ma Ingalls said. She said that she saw Santa last Christmas Eve on the Norad website. Ma Ingalls obviously doesn't understand what she's talking about.
The books are very different than how I remember them as a kid!
That's for sure!