Monday, May 19, 2008

Answers to our Do You Know the Lingo? Quiz

Well, I hope even if you weren't courageous enough to post your answers to our quiz that you enjoyed trying to figure out what these common words and phrases* from the 1800's meant.

Here are the answers:

1) Acknowledge the corn - to admit the truth; to confess; to acknowledge one's shortcomings

2) Allow - to admit; to be of the opinion

3) Beans - anything, something, nothing

4) Boodle - a crowd of people

5) Coot - an idiot; a simpleton; a ninny

6) Didoes - to cut up didoes was to get into mischief

7) Not one's funeral - not one's business; not one's concern

8) Gum - lies; exaggerations or as a verb: to dupe someone

9) Humbug - a deception; a hoax; an imposter

10) Jonathan - the American people

11) Peart - fresh and happy; sprightly

12) Plum, plumb - entirely; completely

13) Pull foot - to leave in a hurry

14) Sam Hill - euphemism for the devil

15) Snore - euphemism used by New Englanders for the word "swear"

16) Squatter - one who settles on land without proper title

17) Surrey - a large, boxy, open family vehicle having two long seats facing forward and frequently, a fringed, canopy top

18) Tow path - a wide path along a canal, where a horse, mule, or team of such walked at the end of a long line, towing a canal boat

19) Wheelwright - one who made or repaired wagon, coach, or carriage wheels

Bonus: Sutler - a merchant/private contractor appointed by the government to supply the troops with such civilian goods as pastries, canned meats, books, tobacco, toiletries, and so on

* All these definitions and more can be found in The Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in the 1800's by Marc McCutcheon.

Mary Ingalls On Her Own by Elizabeth Kimmel Willard--Book Review

Mary Ingalls has finally arrived at the Iowa College for the Blind. Ma and Pa have brought her to be a student after the whole family worked so hard to make money to afford her this special training. She is excited and nervous all at the same time and very thankful that Ma and Pa are with her. After arriving she meets her new roommates, Hannah and Blanche. They all became fast friends. Next door to the girls lives Mattie, the only girl in the whole school who has a sour attitude. Mary decides from the beginning that she will be pleasant to her fussy neighbour.

Mary passes the entrance exam with flying colours and Pa and Ma say their goodbyes. She is on her own and happy to be able to learn new things. The classes include beadwork, braille, highter mathematics and organ. Mary loves them all but organ is her favourite.

The college is a large place and Mary has to learn where things are and how to get there. She learns how many steps it is from one room to another and from her room to the stairs. Her friends are a great help to her, showing her where each class is. Mary is grateful for their help.

Christmas arrives. Mary has been at the college for only a few months but she has learned so much. Many of the students are going home for the holidays, but Mary lived so far away that Pa could't afford to come back and get her. At first this thought made her sad but she soon discovered that many of the other out of town students would be staying as well. With a break in classes she volunteers to help some of the younger students with their geography. A package and 2 letters arrive for Mary for Christmas, which make her feel closer to her loved ones so far away.

I really enjoyed the book. While we don't know exactly what happened while Mary attended the college, this book was based on courses and life happenings taken from the school's archives. It is interesting to read what Mary may have experienced. Some of the characters really existed. It was interesting to read how Mary and Blanche may have met. I recommend this book for all Little House readers.

Title: Mary Ingalls On Her Own
Author: Elizabeth Kimmel Willard
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN-10: 0060009055
ISBN-13: 978-0060009052
U.S. Price: $15.99
Reviewed by: Marilyn Bryson

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Cast Interviews

Lennon Parker is a chum of mine who runs a Little House on the Prairie forum, a website called Prairie Fans, and a history blog. He is dedicated to helping keep Laura's legacy alive through various projects, and with his ties to the entertainment industry he has had the chance to interview several cast members from the original Little House on the Prairie series, the Beyond the Prairie movies, and the 2005 version of Little House on the Prairie.

Here is a list of just some of the interviews you'll find at Prairie Fans:

Michael Landon's TV Series

Casting Director Susan McCray
Producer Kent McCray
Hersha Parady (Alice Garvey)
Pamela Roylance (Sarah Carter)
Brian Part (Carl Sanderson Edwards)
Radames Pera (John Sanderson Edwards)
Bonnie Bartlett (Grace Edwards)
Charlotte Stewart (Mrs. Eva Beadle Simms)
Kevin Hagen (Doctor Baker)
Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson)
Wendi and Brenda Turnbaugh (Grace Ingalls)
Sidney and Lindsay Greenbush (Carrie Ingalls)
Dean Butler (Almanzo Wilder)

Beyond the Prairie Movies

Writer and Co-Producer Stephen Harrigan
Marilyn Meredith (Laura Ingalls Wilder)
Skye McCole Bartusiak (Rose Ingalls)
Tracy Pfau (Mrs. Bouchie)

Little House on the Prairie Miniseries (2005)

Erin Cottrell (Caroline Ingalls)
Kyle Chavarria (Laura Ingalls)
Danielle Ryan Chuchran (Mary Ingalls)
Griffin Powell-Arcand (young Indian boy)

There is also an interview with Beth Ingalls-Leisses, the great-grandaughter of Laura's Uncle Hiram.

All three places are great spots for Laura and Little House fans to check out!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Do you know the lingo?

Take our quiz to find out if you know what these words and expressions from the 1800's mean. Post your answers in the comments section of this thread.

1) Acknowledge the corn

2) Allow

3) Beans

4) Boodle

5) Coot

6) Didoes

7) Not one's funeral

8) Gum

9) Humbug

10) Jonathan

11) Peart

12) Plum, plumb

13) Pull foot

14) Sam Hill

15) Snore

16) Squatter

17) Surrey

18) Tow path

19) Wheelwright

Bonus: Sutler

Have fun!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Featured Book of the Month

Starting in May we are going to feature one book a month that is by or about Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family. We'll begin with a short booklet by Laura Ingalls Wilder biographer William Anderson.

The Story of the Ingalls is only 43 pages long (including appendices), but it is packed with tons of information, rare photos, and a map of the Ingalls' travels. The book is now in its ninth printing.

It begins with a brief history of the Ingalls and Quiner-Holbrook families, then moves on to the years that the Ingalls family traveled, and speaks of how they came to settle in De Smet, SD. It discusses their lives in De Smet and chronicles the lives of every member of the Ingalls family. In April of 1932, the first book in the now famous Little House series was published, Little House in the Big Woods and this booklet also mentions Carrie's and Grace's writing. Strangely, this book does not end with Laura's death, but with Carrie's passing and Laura's acknowledgement to her readers that, "of all the people I wrote about, I am so far as I know the only one left."

The first Appendix includes excerpts from Grace's diary and the second Appendix has pictures of the Ingalls and Quiner-Holbrook families, along with birth dates, marriage dates, and dates of death.

I can't say I learned a lot new about Laura from this booklet, but I did learn more about the lives of the other Ingalls family members.

Other booklets by William Anderson:

The Story of the Wilders
Laura Wilder of Mansfield
A Wilder in the West
(about Eliza Jane Wilder)
Laura's Rose: The Story of Rose Wilder Lane
The Horn Book's Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Iowa Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Walnut Grove Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder

Have you read this book?

For Christmas two years ago, I received a book titled Constructing the Little House: Gender, Culture, and Laura Ingalls Wilder by Ann Romines.

I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but after reading the back cover blurb and the reviews found on I'm even more hesitant to read it than I was when I considered reading The Ghost in the Little House by William Holtz.

Have you read this book? And if you did, what were your impressions of it?

Friday, May 2, 2008

New survey

Please vote in our new survey at the top left hand side of the page. What is your favorite book out of the Little House series? I've included The First Four Years--even though it was originally published after Laura's death--because it is now considered part of the series.

Feel free to discuss your vote and the reasons you like this book best in the comments section of this blog entry.

I look forward to your responses.

And the survey says...

We received a total of 25 votes for our first survey. Here are the results:

84% (21 people) prefer the Garth Williams version of the Little House books

16% (4 people) prefer the new version of the books with actual actor photographs on the front cover

Thanks to all who participated. Look for our next survey coming soon.

Tristi Pinkston talks LHOP and Dean at

I happened to stumble upon an entry from my fellow writer and blogger friend Tristi Pinkston over at and discovered that she is also a big Little House fan.

We got to talking and I mentioned Dean Butler's continued work that is helping to keep Laura's legacy alive. She posted at her blog all about Dean's work and the upcoming documentary Almanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura.

You can find Tristi's blog entry here. is one of the sites that is included in Alexa's top 100,000 blogs in regard to traffic ranking. This will provide Little House and Dean with awesome exposure.