Nellie Oleson Meets Laura Ingalls by Heather Williams--Book Review
Nellie Oleson Meets Laura Ingalls, written by Heather Williams, is based during the time in which On the Banks of Plum Creek, written by Laura Ingalls Wilder, takes place. Nellie hates life on the prairie and yearns to move to wonderful New York City. Very little about prairie life gives Nellie satisfaction; but what does is that her family is the richest family in town and that she is the most popular girl in school. Nellie becomes upset when she is not the center of attention. Once Nellie is not the center of the attention, she becomes angry at her limelight stealer and plots revenge. In class one day, Nellie feels as though she is unjustly accused and becomes upset with her teacher, Miss Beadle. Nellie decides to fill Miss Beadle's desk drawer with disgusting insects and employs her brother Willie's help.
In the spring of the next year, a new girl comes to school. Her name is Laura Ingalls and everybody likes her better than they like Nellie, which makes Laura an enemy. Laura even has the nerve to play a different school yard game and Nellie's best friend, Christy, loves to play the new game instead of her favorite game. At supper that night, Mrs. Oleson uncharacteristically asks Nellie how school was that day. When Mrs. Oleson hears that Nellie thinks she no longer has any friends, Mrs. Oleson comes up with a plan to help the girls realize how special Nellie is. The plan is a birthday party and the party, in Nellie's mind, helps her become the most popular girl. Nellie is excited to go to school the Monday following the party but is floored to learn that that wretched Laura is going to have party. Once again Laura is the most popular girl and Nellie becomes upset. During the party Laura plays a mean trick on Nellie and Nellie wishes that something bad would happen to the Ingalls family so that they would move back east.
Later in the summer the town is plagued by grasshoppers and families are forced to moved away. Nellie discovers that her family is no long as rich as they were and that she can no longer have whatever she likes from the store. Nellie becomes quite sad, thinking that she is the cause of the grasshoppers. At school Nellie is overcome by her feelings and confesses to Miss Beadle that the grasshoppers are here because of her. Miss Beadle sets Nellie straight and tells Nellie that being a pioneer girl is not easy and that she will have to be brave and good. Nellie takes these words to heart and tries to be brave and good.
I have a little disclaimer for my above review of the book. I realize that I make Laura seem to be a bit 'bad', but this is not my intent. The book is written in the view point of Nellie as is this review.
At first I did not think that I would enjoy this book. In the first few chapters Nellie is rather bratty and I do not like reading a book where a child is bratty and gets away with it. After the first chapters, I think that Nellie does not come across this way. Overall I enjoyed the book. There were a few things I thought were interesting. I thought it was interesting that Nellie's first doll was named Laura and I thought that it was interesting that Mr. and Mrs. Oleson had different first names than they did in the tv series. I suppose that we don't know their real first names, so that any name really could've been their first name.
I think that the book was well done and that reading the book gives one insight into what may have been going through Nellie's mind and why she was the way she was.