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Little House in the Big Woods

Classic view of pioneer life through a little girl's eyes.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The story is heavy on lessons for kids on right from wrong and the value of hard work. An African American man is called a "darkey" in a song.

Violence & scariness

Scenes where a gun is used or visible, typical for the time and location. Laura describes the preparation and slaughter of farm animals: skinning, cooking, etc. There are some stories of wild animal attacks. Children are spanked. A boy is stung by hundreds of yellow jackets.

Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Little House in the Big Woods is a children's classic about a year in the life of a family of pioneers. A boy is stung by hundreds of yellow jackets, and being a different time, kids are spanked when they misbehave. The book also contains detailed descriptions of animal slaughter.

What's the story?

Laura Ingalls is a kid who loves to help her family, is afraid of wolves, and hates her "boring" brown hair. She lives in a little house in the big woods where she and her siblings work hard at their many chores, mind their ma and pa, go to school all in one room, and have lots of frontier adventures.

Is it any good?


This story is a straightforward, fun read with a child's look into pioneer living. It's great to see Laura and her sisters take simple pleasure in playing with their dolls, making homemade goodies, and listening to their father's stories. LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS is a classic reborn with great illustrations by Garth Williams in this 75th anniversary edition. New readers and those familiar with Laura Ingalls and her family will love following along as Laura takes them through a year in the life of the little family of pioneers.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about pioneer life and how they survived. Why was hunting necessary? How did the Ingalls entertain themselves without TV and other modern distractions? How do you think you'd fare without technology?

Book details

Author:Laura Ingalls Wilder
Illustrator:Garth Williams
Topics:Brothers and sisters, Great girl role models, History
Book type:Non-Fiction
Publisher:HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication date:December 25, 2007
Number of pages:256
Publisher's recommended age(s):8 - 12
Award:ALA Best and Notable Books

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 4 and 8 year old Written bykaloren September 25, 2009

Great series, fun, historical and great family values.

I remebr reading these as a little girl. I loved the spunk of Laura and her little adventures. I alos loved the history and being able to learn about life during the pioneer days. Now my daughter ahs read the series and is re-reading them becasue she enjoys them so much too!
Parent of a 3 year old Written bywholegrainmommy June 22, 2010

Even really young ones can love it.

I started reading this to my 3 year old and found that she LOVES it. She has certain chapters that she likes me to read over and over again, like each chapter is a self-contained book. I dont skip anything, but I do abbreviate certain parts that lose her attention (eg the detailed description of the smokehouse, how Pa cleans his gun and makes bullets, etc.) She can't sit still while I'm reading it (because there are no pictures to look at) but I know she's paying attention because we discuss it after we read. If you've got a child who loves being read to, you might be suprised how much they can get out of this book.
Teen, 15 years old Written byMisty waterfall January 4, 2011

Ok book for me

I have 2 say i think its for people that arent like me. I dident like it that much.Maybe its just me. I hope other people like it better than i did.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Great messages