Monday, May 07, 2007

The Little House Books: 75 years and still going strong

Laura Ingalls WilderIt was 75 years ago in April when Laura Ingalls Wilder published the first book in her Little House series, Little House in the Big Woods. The books chronicle Wilder’s life on the prairies of Missouri and Minnesota as she grows from a young pioneer girl into a young lady. Wilder died in 1957 at the age of 90 at the Rocky Ridge Farm she shared with her husband, Almanzo. Fans young and old still eagerly read her cherished books and visit the places Wilder made famous in them.

Did you know...?

  • Wilder helped her husband work their farm for 30 years before penning her first Little House book at age 60

  • Her first draft was a memoir titled Pioneer Girl that was turned down by publishers but it was suggested that she rewrite it as children's fiction

  • Little House in the Big Woods was so popular with children, they deluged Wilder and her publisher with letters begging for more books about the Ingalls family

  • She refused to adapt her stories for film for fear that Hollywood would sensationalize her life story and alter her novels

  • Her daughter Rose Wilder Lane, a successful novelist and journalist, typed and helped edit her mother’s manuscripts

  • Bad girl Nellie Oleson is actually three different girls from Wilder’s childhood combined into one

  • The real Nellie had a brother named Willie who went blind from a firecracker explosion and attended a school for the blind

  • Wilder had a brother named Charles Frederic Ingalls who lived for only nine months

  • Laura and Almanzo moved to Westville, Florida, in the hopes of improving Almanzo’s health, but they soon moved back to De Smet, South Dakota, when Laura couldn’t take the heat and wasn’t accepted socially because of her Yankee status

  • 26 episodes of a Japanese animated version of the Little House series was released in 1975

  • The Little House series has sold 41 million copies in the United States and has been translated into over 40 languages

  • All books except Farmer Boy are named Newbery Honor Books


    book cover

    The Little House series:

    Little House in the Big Woods (1932)
    Farmer Boy (1933)
    Little House on the Prairie (1935)
    On the Banks of Plum Creek (1937)
    By the Shores of Silver Lake (1939)
    The Long Winter (1940)
    Little Town on the Prairie (1941)
    These Happy Golden Years ( 1943)
    The First Four Years (1971)

  • Links:

    Search our databases for articles and information on Laura Ingalls Wilder (library card required)

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