Sunday, July 12, 2009

Little House on the Prairie

One of the things I have been doing over my summer break (apart from obviously not blogging!) has been watching the show Little House on the Prairie, one of the strongest memories of my childhood. This was one television show that my parents had no problem letting me watch on my own, as it was filled with wholesome family lessons. I don't know which came first, though: watching the show, or reading the books. Both have been such an indelible part of my childhood that I cannot separate which came first. It's my version of the "chicken or the egg?" question that comes up in philosophy and religion classes.  (BTW, I believe it's the chicken, according to Genesis.) 

Of course, having been a fan of both book and show, I noticed some of the differences that existed between the books and the show at an early age. Where was this Walnut Grove that the television show was based in? How did it compare to the little town on the prairie, DeSmet? Did Laura have a baby brother who died? And who the heck is Albert Ingalls? 

I also remembered some of the characters in the show. Among my favorites were Mr. Edwards, who popped up from time to time in the early books, but never in the later. I also liked the character of Nellie Oleson, because she served as such a foil to Laura. Laura was a tomboy, a true pioneer girl without airs. Nellie was the spoiled, snooty girl who had everything material Laura didn't have, but none of the grace and openness of Laura. 

Having read the books and in the process of rediscovering the show, I felt it only proper to read Donald Zochert's biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Laura: The LIfe of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Author of The Little House on the Prairie. I've had the book for a few years, like many of my books, and managed to finish it just this morning. Reading it was a nostalgic trip for me, not because I've ever been to any of the places described, but because of what I read and saw on the show. In my next post, I will write my thoughts on this book and give a review. 

1 comment:

HeatherW said...

I am a HUGE fan of LHOP. In fact, every school year when the old "Westward Expansion" unit rolls around, I get out my VHS of the MOVIE that the tv show was based on (the Ingalls leave the Big Woods of Wisconsin for Kansas/Indian Territory). And every year, my kids love it! I have 3 of her books- LHOP, On the Banks of Plum Creek (my fave!) and By the Shores of Silver Lake. And I watch the tv show as often as I can catch it. It reminds me of a simpler time.