Sunday, November 30, 2008

Have a "Little House" Christmas!

The holiday season is upon us, and if you're like most "Little House" fans, you may be hoping to work a bit of "Little House" into your Christmas celebration this year. The Christmas chapters of the "Little House" series are among the most beloved, despite (and probably because of) the simplicity of the Ingalls and Wilder celebrations.

Here are just a few ways that you can have a "Little House" Christmas:

1. Christmas with Almanzo

The Almanzo Wilder Farm in Burke, NY, will be open Saturday, December 6, from 11 am to 3 pm, for a special Christmas event.

Come into Mother Wilder's cozy kitchen for homemade cookies and apple cider, then gather in the parlor for a reading of the Farmer Boy Christmas chapter. Other enjoyable activities will be provided for the children, as weather permits.

The house and museum will be open to the public but there will be no tours (self-guided only). The gift shop will be stocked with all things "Little House" (including the new Almanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura DVD, which if you haven't already ordered, would make a lovely Christmas present for any Wilder fan), and free gift wrapping will be provided.

2. Go see a "Little House" Christmas play.

"A Little House Christmas" is being shown in local theatres around the United States over the next couple of weeks. (Known locations include Houston and Dallas, Texas; Eau Claire and Menomonie, Wisconsin; and Warren, Ohio.) Check with your local theaters, or do a google search on "Little House Christmas" and your state name to see if there is a showing near you.

Also showing are "A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas"(known locations include Nampa and Caldwell, Idaho, and Mount Airy, North Carolina), "A Laura Ingalls Wilder Pioneer Christmas" (known locations include New Richmond, Wisconsin), and "A Little House Christmas at Plum Creek" (known locations include Boone, Iowa).

If you are aware of any other locations not mentioned, please leave the information in the comments section and we will update this post accordingly.

3. Attend "The Ingalls Family's Long Winter".

Raleigh, North Carolina, is the location for this unique holiday celebration, which will enable participants to learn about and experience the tasks used by the Ingalls family to survive during the Hard Winter of 1880-81. The event will be held from 2 to 4 pm on December 11, 13, and 14. The event is geared for children 6 to 13 and their accompanying adults, and requires a pre-registration fee of $2. Call (919) 856-6675 to register.

4. Enjoy a reread of the "Little House" Christmas chapters.

Live too far from any of the Christmas events? Have your own "Little House" party. Read the Christmas chapters and simply enjoy them, or use them to find ideas you can incorporate into your own family's Christmas traditions.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Questions and Answers

As I was looking through the statistics for this blog, checking to see how people were discovering it, I became increasingly aware of a need that webpages don't fill. There are so many "Little House" related questions that people are asking on search engines, and I read through some of these shaking my head, knowing that the answers to those questions were not found on this blog, and probably weren't found anywhere else online either. The people asking those questions were experiencing fruitless searches, and yet their questions aren't difficult to answer.

Questions like, "Did Laura Ingalls go to college?" (No), "Is there any film footage of Laura Ingalls Wilder?" (No), "Where is an interview with Laura Ingalls Wilder?" (on the Laura Speaks recording available from the Wilder Home in Mansfield or the Memorial Society in De Smet).

Then, I received a suggestion from a reader that "Little House" trivia (bits of information not known to the casual reader of the books, but that budding fans would find interesting) be made a part of the blog.

So I will combine those two thoughts together to add this new feature: the Questions and Answers series. If you have questions about anything related to Laura Ingalls Wilder or the "Little House" books, ask them here -- chances are, someone else out there is wondering the same thing. The questions, which I will answer to the best of my ability, will be posted on a regular basis, as long as the need exists and the questions are still coming.

Email your questions to (you will not be identified when your question is posted).

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane:
Authorship, Place, Time, and Culture

Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane: Authorship, Place, Time, and Culture, by John E. Miller, is a compilation of critical essays exploring the themes of place, time, and culture in the lives and writings of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane.

Miller first addresses the question of authorship, explaining that any serious assessment of the "Little House" series must begin with an understanding of the collaborative process between Wilder and Lane in the creation and development of the books, and then expounding on his interpretation of that process and the role each woman played in the writing and editing of the series.

In terms of "place", Miller provides an interesting discussion on the significance of the differing attractions of both Wilder and Lane to houses.

He then looks at "time" through a series of articles: an in-depth historical look at 1932, the year Little House in the Big Woods was published; a comparison of Wilder and Frederick Jackson Turner as frontier mythologists; and a look at an unpublished Missouri history written by Lane, compared and contrasted with Thomas Hart Benton's historical Missouri mural.

Finally, the concept of "culture" as it relates to the "Little House" books is examined as Miller readdresses first the development of Wilder's writing skills through her experiences as columnist for the Missouri Ruralist, and then the controversy and criticism surrounding the treatment of Native Americans in Wilder's books. Miller concludes with thoughtful commentary on the political views of Wilder and Lane, and how these beliefs were (and were not) evidenced in their writings.

This book is a welcome addition to the collection of scholarly critical works produced in recent years on Wilder and Lane. We recommend it for anyone interested in academic study of Laura Ingalls Wilder or Rose Wilder Lane.

Click here to purchase this book (all proceeds donated to LIW Homesites.)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Video Tour of Rocky Ridge Farm

Laura Ingalls Wilder, Frontier Girl has just added a video tour of Rocky Ridge Farm, located in Mansfield, Missouri. We encourage you to watch the video, then start planning your own trip to the Wilder home and museum.

Click here to watch the video.