For many people, a love of words starts early. I was one of those people. When I was just three years old, my mom would sit with me in a big, red armchair and read Little House in the Big Woods to me.
It wasn’t long before I was old enough to read the books for myself. By the time I was seven or eight, I’d read the entire series—and I didn’t stop. I continued with Roger Lea MacBride’s tale of Laura’s daughter Rose in Little House on Rocky Ridge. I remember idolizing Rose’s friend Paul Cooley. In my eyes, he was fifteen. He could drive a wagon all by himself, and he was practically a grown-up. I was surprised to look back a few years later and realize he was only ten.
I recently picked up one of the Little House books again--On the Banks of Plum Creek to be exact—and I realized just how much they’d shaped my childhood.
I loved the Little House series because it was simple. There were no fancy gadgets or devices. People talked with each other instead of texting friends. And on the cozy winter evenings, they’d sit in front of the fireplace, and Ma would sew and Pa would tell stories and play his fiddle.
Yes, they had their share of problems—and then some. But with hard work, sacrifice, and determination, they got through them.
I’m far from being a pioneer. I enjoy using electronic devices, I can’t knit, and I’ve never played volleyball with a blown-up pig’s bladder. But I learned some things from the Ingalls. I learned that families who stick together can get through anything. I learned that it’s okay to take responsibility and do more than your fair share of work. And I learned that even pioneer siblings didn’t always get along, either.
It took me a while to realize how much I’d actually gleaned from the Little House series. In Where the Clouds Catch Fire, I describe a blizzard. Have I ever seen a blizzard? No, but Laura has. She described them in great detail, and I was able to give that much more authenticity to my own writing by learning from her.
Laura was a great describer of details. She probably learned that from describing things to her sister Mary after she went blind. In the books, she describes sunsets and kittens and so many dresses that I got tired of reading about what everyone was wearing. I didn’t understand most of the words for fabric—words like “cambric” and “fawn-colored” and “gingham” and “muslin.” In fact, I always read the word “cambric” as “ceramic” and figured it must be a very stiff material.
But alas, all good series must come to an end. I moved on—I read The Chronicles of Narnia and Charlotte’s Web and The Crittendon Files, and more recently I’ve read The Scarlet Letter. But one of these days, I should dust off the old set and start off at the beginning, with Laura introducing us for the first time to Ma and Pa and Mary and Carrie and Jack, the brindle bulldog.
Have you read the Little House series—or do you prefer the TV show? What’s your favorite book series! Let me know in the comments below! God bless you, dear readers—and don’t forget to like us on Facebook!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.