As a long time Laura Ingalls Wilder fan, imagine my delight at discovering Caroline Little House, Revisted, a reimagining of Laura’s book Little House on the Prairie, told from the perspective of Caroline Ingalls, mother of the Ingalls brood. I was not disappointed.
This retelling of the tale delves into Caroline’s emotions, snippets of her history that Laura’s books didn’t address, her fears, her relationship with her husband, her love for her children, and the intestinal fortitude required of the pioneer generation. It includes stories that my fellow prairie-ties will recognize. The leaving of home and family, crossing the frozen Lake Pepin, fording a flooded river in the wagon, arriving in Independence, wolves, prairie fires, Indians, and best of all, MR. EDWARDS. It also clears up a few things, including the fact that the Osage war dance described by Laura didn’t happen. The Ingalls’ were likely frightened by the mourning songs sung by the Osage women after the Osage leaders met with federal Indian agents and agreed to peaceably sell their lands and relocate to Oklahoma. We also learn that the Ingalls family were not removed from their land by the government. Rather, Gustav Gustafson who bought the house in the Big Woods, reneged on the deal, the property reverted to the Ingalls and since they did not yet own their Kansas claim, they had to go back.
The emotions in Laura’s books were the emotions of a child, in this book, we get insight on what the pioneering experience must’ve been like to the women who gave up their entire lives to go west. The fear of giving birth alone, surviving sickness without family, worry for the children, long stretches of time alone on the claim with children while the husband went to town or went out hunting.
This book probably has a very specific audience, people like me who grew up on Laura’s books or the television show. Honestly though, anyone with interest in history or the pioneer era would enjoy this book. By the way, if you’ve never read Laura’s books, and your knowledge of the Little House universe is limited to the Micheal Landon show, I beg you to read the books, and read them to your kids. You’ll never look at that tv show the same way.
Have a great weekend everybody. Spend some of it with a good book, and spread kindness. ❤️