The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Frontier Landscapes that Inspired the Little House Books
by Marta McDowell
Biographies & Memoirs , Home & Garden
Pub Date 20 Sep 2017
FTC: Reviewed ARC for Timber Press and Net Galley
A must-read companion to the Little House books 2017 is the 150th anniversary of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s birthday. Her beloved Little House series tells a classic coming-of-age story based on Wilder’s own family life and is a reflection of the pioneer spirit of the time. They are also deeply rooted in the natural world. The plants, animals, and landscapes are so integral to the stories, they are practically their own characters.
The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder, by New York Times bestselling author Marta McDowell, explores Wilder’s deep relationship to the landscape. Follow the wagon trail of the series, starting in the Wisconsin setting of Little House in the Big Woods to the Dakotas and finally to Missouri. Throughout, you’ll learn details about Wilder’s life and inspirations, discover how to visit the real places today, and even learn to grow the plants and vegetables featured in the stories.
The artful package includes original illustrations by Helen Sewell and Garth Williams, along with historical and contemporary photographs. The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder is a must-have treasure for the millions of readers enchanted by Laura’s wild and beautiful life.
The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Frontier Landscapes that Inspired the Little House Books by Marta McDowell is fascinating in that it follows Laura's moves from Wisconsin to Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, and Missouri. Not only do we get to travel along with the Ingalls' and Wilder's, but we learn about pioneering history, American agriculture, animals, native plants, and trees.
Many of us that are familiar with Laura's books are aware she harbored a deep love for her country and was of strong character. She was active in the community, participating in local fairs. The Wilder's were able to make a sustainable living off their land. What they didn't eat, and store, was often fed to their livestock.
This is really the type of book I was waiting for. But, I don't want to give away to much of it. So, I'll just go over a few points that I felt were interesting. Laura was happy to tour 'Muir Woods' while visiting daughter Rose, in California. We know from history that Muir's family emigrated to American. His family settled in Wisconsin the same state Laura was born in.
You also learn that Laura was also known to be drawn to "Tennyson's...Maude". And, if you are familiar with the poem, you might think they were standing together when Tennyson wrote, "From the lake to the meadow and on to the wood." This, too, was Laura's scenery. And, if you've read any of her books, you'll know she writes about being near water. I thought it very fitting this book includes a photo of an older Laura...near water.
Yes, there were many hardships for Ingalls' and Wilder's. And, I love how Marta McDowell depicts their struggles in a detailed, but not depressing, manner.
Laura was forty-four when her first article appeared in the 'Ruralist' and she lived to see all of her books be reprinted in multiple languages. I love that this story was teamed with photos, illustrations, drawings and clippings from newspapers of Laura's lifetime. My opinion is this book is truly a gem.