The Stuff of Life

Little House On the Prairie: A Brief Review


little house

I feel deceived.

I guess it’s own fault for growing up with the television series and not reading the books until now, but all this time I thought the Ingalls family settled in Minnesota and stayed there. But there’s only one book about their lives in Minnesota. What!?!

These books simultaneously make me wish I lived a hundred years ago and praise God that I didn’t. I love the idea of building a little cabin and keeping warm by the fire in a rocking chair built by Corey’s hands and listening to him sing and play his fiddle (make that a guitar) for entertainment. But I don’t love the idea of eating whatever animal happened to be close enough to shoot, or the idea of drinking frothy milk straight from the cow. And head cheese? No thank you.

Historical fiction is my favorite genre, so I’m not surprised that I’m enjoying these books.  But I have skimmed a number of passages because  some things I don’t really care to learn about (making head cheese, for example). They are good books though, and if I had  little girls, I’m sure we’d read these together.

The Little House on the Prairie series is such a sweet depiction of  growing up in 1800s America, but it has me wondering what people will be reading 100 years from now to achieve a better understanding of the 2000s. Maybe my boys’ favorite series Diary of a Wimpy Kid? Oh my….

(A special thank-you to the lovely seven-year-old girl who let me borrow her treasured possessions. I promise I will finish them soon. ;))


Author: Kim Harms

I am a contributor at CT Women (previously known as Today's Christian Woman where I was a regular contributor as well). I blog monthly at and have freelanced for a variety of publications including Chicken Soup for the Soul, Guideposts, Thriving Family and Creation Illustrated. Cancer made an unwelcome visit in my breast in January 2016, and I am now working on a book about breast reconstruction after having gone through the insane process myself. My incredible husband of 18 years, Corey, is my biggest writing cheerleader and together we are having a ball raising our three growing boys; Carter 15, Owen 14 and Lewis 10.

7 thoughts on “Little House On the Prairie: A Brief Review

  1. Darn it! I was planning on a making headcheese activity for our next time we hang out together. There goes that plan!

  2. Darn it! I was planning a ‘making headcheese’ activity for the next time we hang out. There goes that plan! 😦

  3. Yes, it is always dangerous to count on TV (or most any media, for that matter!) to give you the straight story. If it makes you feel any better, the Ingalls family did live in a real town called Walnut Grove in SW Minnesota, and it was much more lively than the one on the show. They lived there twice, with a little sojourn of a year or so in Burr Oak, Iowa, in between. Their brother Charles Frederick “Freddie” was born in WG in 1875 but died 9 months later when they were on the way to Iowa. Grace was born in Burr Oak in 1877, and after they returned to WG, Mary was struck with the illness which blinded her in 1879, right before they moved to De Smet. All 3 towns have museums in Laura’s honor as do Pepin WI, Independence KS, Spring Valley MN, Keystone SD, and Mansfield MO. Almanzo’s birthplace in Malone NY is a great museum, too. Highly recommend visiting any of the sites. So glad you’re finding the books enjoyable! Although she simplified a lot of the daily life aspects, and she altered some events or characters for the purpose of stories for an audience of children, there are some great encapsulations of westward migration and the economic and social/cultural realities of the 1870s and 1880s in her books. While they definitely are fiction and not history or true biography, there is a lot of truth and reality in the books…much, MUCH more than on the show!

  4. Thanks for informative comment! I look forward to checking in on your blog as you add more to it. Maybe once I’m through with the books I can talk my family into traveling around to check out some of the Ingalls history.

  5. I read “Farmer Boy” to our family one vacation. Everyone, including the boys, loved it. Be ready to have your taste buds teased though, they talk about food a lot! Erick and LUke really liked that book and “Little Britches”. FYI

    • That’s funny, cuz I skipped that book thinking I just wanted to keep reading about the Ingalls family. Now I’m gonna have to go back and read it 😉 Maybe with the boys.

  6. Pingback: What’s New? Re-Reading and Re-Watching Little House on the Prairie. « Just As I Am...Meet Laura Ingalls Wilder

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