I found this blog entry today: Stories I’m Reading: Little House On the Prairie and it got me to thinking just how readily every type of media can lead readers and viewers to hold some false impressions about everything from history in general to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s specific experiences. The blogger, Kim, like many of us Laurati, first knew LIW because of the TV show. Now an adult, she is reading Laura’s classic series for the first time and was shocked to find the Ingalls didn’t spend all of Laura’s childhood in Walnut Grove! On the other hand, many readers fell in love with Laura’s books first and came to the show later, if at all. I am always curious what people think of the many differences…or do they notice?
When I was very, very small, my mother let me stay up late to watch Little House on the Prairie because it was one of the few shows which featured a lot of female characters and was not too “grown-up” for a little girl. I learned to read when I was given a copy of LHOP, and, holding my finger under each word of the sentence, one-at-a-time, my father helped me parse the syllables into an intelligible story. He explained the foreign concepts of hunting or making cheese. He drew pictures to make sense of the parts I couldn’t imagine, like building a door for a log house in Kansas. I knew the books and the show were very different, and my parents often pointed out anachronisms in dialogue or situations of the 70s Hollywood production. But, they recognized the merits of the attempt at making a period of history and a former way of life accessible to a modern audience. Sometimes the show succeeded, other times…well, let’s just say it didn’t always feel quite real. But, it inspired me to dress up, play at living in another time and place, and, most importantly, LEARN about that other time, and place, and the other parts of life that the show–and even The Books–did not. And, for that, I am grateful.
What has your Laura Ingalls Wilder experience been? What caught your attention, and what do you wonder about?
Tell me your story…