Friday, 23 December 2011

Twelve Days of Christmas 11: Little House on the Prairie

I received my Little House on the Prairie omnibus for my seventh birthday, and it was my first really big book: three books in one, chronicling the early years of Laura Ingalls and her family as they settled in different places, making their homes in different places before moving to their next place in a covered wagon drawn by horses. Laura Ingalls Wilder's descriptions, coupled with the illustrations by Garth Williams, ensured that this book allowed my imagination to play house to its heart's content. A pen-and-ink drawing of the inside of a small wooden house was enough to let me imagine I was there too, living with Laura and Mary and playing make-believe.

There are two vivid Christmas scenes in the series that stand out for me: the first in the first book: Little House in the Big Woods. It is a merry, family Christmas, with all the uncles and aunts coming to stay, presents of mittens and a precious doll for Laura, home-made candy of molasses poured onto snow, making snow-angels and indulging in a feast of a Christmas dinner. It is a Christmas described so well I could almost taste it, almost smell the clean, fresh snow and hear the laughter of a family celebrating Christmas together. Other Christmases feature as the series chronicles Laura's life. Nowadays children receive TVs, gaming consoles and iPods for their big Christmas presents, but Laura makes a few pieces of candy, a pair of mittens, a tin mug and a penny sound like riches galore. What else could any child want.

The other striking Christmas in my three-in-one volume, was a lonely one. A trip to town for essential supplies was a long journey, and one December, Pa Ingalls was stranded there by a blizzard. The days following his departure are anxious days of waiting, with Ma trying to distract her children with games, well aware of the dangers her husband faces. Pa's safe return on Christmas Eve, minus the Christmas candy and treats, which he had to eat to survive, is the best Christmas present of all.

2 comments:

  1. loving the blog :D am now following, please follow my blog at www.rollerbladesandvintage.blogspot.com.

    I'd really appreciate it, thanks, from Leah :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I adore the Little House books and just recently read a collection of the Christmas stories. If you ever come across it, I highly recommend it!

    ReplyDelete

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