Wednesday, March 28, 2007

still on the prairie

Liz at "A Chair, a Fireplace and a Teacozy" is listening to the
"Little House" books
and has some interesting links, particularly this article on the Little House books as fiction. I've pretty much been presenting the Little House books as fact and I hope my son won't be upset about that someday; at the moment he doesn't seem to have the resentment towards "lying" I've been told many autistic children feel. Still, perhaps I should introduce the idea that Laura is telling stories.

I've been finding Little House on the Prairie less difficult reading than I expected. The only mention of a black person so far is quite positive, albeit very much a portrait of someone strange and different. I've been adding a lot of commentary to the sections about Indians, though even that is a more balanced picture that I expected. But check out the site American Indians in Children's Literature for a much more critical dissection of the portrayal of Indians than you'll find in the article above. (Thanks to BookBookBook for the pointer.)

And aside from all those philosophical considerations, what do we think? It's definitely not as cozy a story as Little House in the Big Woods, but my son seems just as enthralled by it. We start to see more of Laura's inner life in this book--perhaps because we're now at a point in the story when she was old enough to have strong memories. I was quite fascinated by Laura's problem when Mary gives her pretty beads away and Laura feels she must give her beads away too or appear selfish (a fear justified by their mother's reponse.) There's starting to be real conflict between Laura's desires and Ma and Pa's expectations of children.

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Anonymous Anonymous bligged...

I've also just recently made my way through this books again, being on Little Town on the Prairie at this point and after reading your post I can see how children may see these books from a different angle then we do, in the description of Native Americans and others, however, as a child reading these, I do not remember ever really "questioning" something that was in the story. I just read it as fiction. I hope your son continues to enjoy these!

3/28/2007 5:48 PM  

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