On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder

77769Fiction — print. Scholastic, 1953. Originally published 1937. 339 pgs. Purchased.

The fourth book in the Little House series follows the Ingalls family after their move from Kansas to Minnesota and a house built into a hill and made of sod. Ma turns her nose up at the house, and Pa builds the family a brand new house beside the creek after borrowing against their first wheat harvest. The Ingalls soon discover what their Norwegian neighbors mean when they refer to the weather as “Grasshopper weather” when millions of grasshoppers descend upon the area and devour the entire crop.

Based on the amount of creasing in the spine, it is quite obvious that this was never one my favorites in the Little House series. Yes, we are introduced to mean, old Nellie Olson in this book, but I always thought this one lacked the same amount of excitement that other books in this series possessed.

Rereading it now, I found myself becoming very frustrated with Pa! Wilder always presented her father as a do-no-wrong kind of man, but his money management skills are something to be desired. Of course, hindsight is twenty-twenty, but he borrows constantly against this wheat crop even as he (and Ma) say that there are no guarantees for farmers.

Still, I found myself torn up when Laura was forced to give away her doll and then finds it abandoned and torn in a frozen puddle. And I found myself rooting for Laura when she plays a mean trick on Nellie. I guess there are somethings you will never outgrow.

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