Saturday, December 12, 2009

December Featured Books of the Month

Back in the early 90's--when I didn't have gray hair--I picked up an eight book set by T.L. Tedrow called The Days of Laura Ingalls Wilder.I did not know at the time that this series was considered controversial. That Roger Lea MacBride, the heir of Rose Wilder Lane, and Laura Ingalls Wilder biographer William Anderson had come out against the books. All I remember from those days is that I was totally captivated by these eight books that provided a fictional life for the famous children's author and her family.

Released in 1992 by Thomas Nelson Publishers, according to this article, Tedrow was also trying to put together a television deal to produce a series based upon the books.

I haven't read these books since I first bought them; and I wonder now that I have taken an interest in the real life of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family, if I would enjoy these books as much as I did when they first came out over 15 years ago.

I am featuring these books in December for a couple of reasons: I would like to know how many people own them or have read them, and what your opinion of them is regardless of whether you've read them or not. Is this pure historical fiction? Is it a rip-off of the original books? After hearing about them would you read them?

Here is the list of books in order:

Missouri Homestead
Children of Promise
Good Neighbors
Home to the Prairie
The World's Fair
Mountain Miracle
The Great Debate
Land of Promise

Wikipedia offers a synopsis of each book in the series and briefly mentions the controversy surrounding the books. Amazon has a few sellers who offer a boxed set of books 1 - 4, and the full set is available on eBay, as are single copies of each book.


Rebecca said...

I bet (hope!) if you read them now, you'd see them differently.

No, I don't consider them a rip-off of the BOOKS -- just Laura! Basically these are Tedrow's own stories completely, about "The Younguns", and that would have been fine had he just written his little stories and left things as is. The trouble came when he set the stories in Mansfield and threw Laura into it for marketing's sake. Stick her famous name on there and people will buy it. Right?

If he'd stayed true to Laura's character and personality, even then perhaps it wouldn't have been so bad. I thankfully don't recall many of the detail of this series, but the terrible one when Pa comes and calls her "Little Laurie" throughout the book (what was wrong with Half Pint or Flutterbudget?) and they go off on some big quest to find the Little House on the Prairie and dig up something they buried there all those years before -- that was just pure craziness. And all the outhouse stuff was totally unnecessary. Seriously -- who wants to tag along on a trip to the outhouse with their favorite book people???

Cheryl said...

"I bet (hope!) if you read them now, you'd see them differently."

I probably would because I was just reading the opening of the first book and it didn't sit right with me. Laura came off as too strong.

Oh, now that you say "Little Laurie", I remember that. I don't remember the outhouse stuff at all. Probably better that I don't.

Thanks for dropping in and sharing your thoughts.


A Bookish Space said...

I've not heard of this series of books before, but after following your links, and doing a bit of sleuthing myself, I don't think that these are the books for me. I loved the Little House books when I was growing up, and although I want to read the series by Roger Lea MacBride, I can't bear to bring myself to consider reading the other spin-offs such as about Laura's mother, grandmother, etc.

Cheryl said...

Roger's series about Rose is excellent and very close to the original Little House books, though the publisher has supposedly abridged each series except Laura's--which is why Melissa Wiley decided to stop writing her Martha series.

I also enjoyed the books about Caroline and Charlotte, but couldn't get into the Martha series at all. Maybe it's a cultural thing, but I barely made it through the first chapter.

The level of research these authors did is evident, and they kept their style of writing close to the original books, so in some ways you almost feel like it's Laura telling you these stories.

Thanks for dropping in to share your thoughts. I appreciate it.


Sarah said...

I read the first few books in this series a long, long time ago. I didn't care for them, and I don't remember all the reasons why. The one thing I do vaguely remember is that he portrayed Almanzo as being very passive and slow almost to the point of being stupid and rather childlike. I never got that impression of Almanzo's personality from anything else I ever read, so it really bothered me. I think I have the books somewhere, I'm going to try to dig them out and see if I'm remembering that correctly!

Anonymous said...

I know this doesn't have to do with your post but I thought I would share this:
I, a young teen, used to live in De Smet, South Dakota. I actually was a member of the church Pa helped built.
De Smet is a beautiful, wonderful place to live. The people are friendly and you can literraly know everyone in town. My grandma and grandpa have Laura's sister in law's (I think Eliza Jane's)house on their yard.
I used to attend the Laura Ingalls Wilder Elementary school until I moved away in my fifth grade summer. Everyone is so nice and loving and they catch Laura's spirit really well in the Homestead and museums. I actually was friends with two people my age who have been in magazines on South Dakota(when talking about De Smet), have been in the pageants multiple times, and one is also related to Laura.
I have been on the special features on the box set of Season
8. I got to meet Dean Butler while filming!
I am proud to be from the wonderful Little Town on the Prairie.