Thursday, August 23, 2012

New Laura Ingalls Wilder Related Products for My Collection

I have an entire bookshelf dedicated to books by and about Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family. Today, I treated myself to some neat Laura related titles.

I was on the fence about this book for a while. The reviews are as controversial as what the book seems to be. I'm not sure how I'll feel about it once I've read it, but I was afraid it might go out of print if I waited too long.

Here's the official description:

Fellman shows that Laura Ingalls Wilder's magical Little House series contained a covert political message that made many readers comfortable with the resurgence of conservatism. Because both Wilder and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, opposed the New Deal programs being implemented as they wrote, their books use family history as an argument against the state's protection of individuals from economic uncertainty, emphasizing the Ingalls family's isolation and resilience in the face of crises. Fellman argues that the books' popularity helped lay the groundwork for a negative response to big government and a positive view of political individualism, contributing to the acceptance of contemporary conservatism while perpetuating a mythic West. Fellman also explores the continuing presence of the books--and their message--in modern cultural institutions from classrooms to tourism, newspaper editorials to Internet message boards.

I wanted to buy Farmer Boy Goes West from the moment it came out. Almanzo is a favorite character of mine--we can thank Dean Butler (Almanzo Wilder, NBC) for that. This book follows Almanzo's story as his family decides to leave New York and move west.

"Almanzo Wilder is going west! He and his family are moving all the way from their cozy farm in Malone, New York, to the bustling town of Spring Valley, Minnesota. Almanzo can’t wait to explore, but life in Spring Valley isn’t what he expected. The Wilders have to stay with relatives in a small, cramped house where Almanzo’s aunt Martha is cold and unfriendly. Almanzo longs for the freedom he had back home, and he especially misses his horse, Starlight. Even as he makes new friends at school and helps his father pick a plot of land for the family to settle on, Almanzo can’t help but wonder: Is Minnesota the right place for the Wilders? Or do they belong in New York?

First introduced in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s classic Little House book Farmer Boy, Almanzo Wilder’s adventures continue in Farmer Boy Goes West."

Kirkus Reviews was not very kind to this book, but maybe if we had more "safe, comfortable, respectful," and wholesome literature out there for young people, the world would be a kinder place.

I wanted to catch Pa's Fiddle: The Music of America on PBS when it aired, but I didn't see it. I was very disappointed, as I knew Dean Butler played an important role in its production. Now that it is available for sale, I didn't waste any time getting my hands on it.

Here is the description I found online:

Live concert performances of the music of the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Little House on the Prairie, the autobiographical book series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, holds in its pages a comprehensive review of 19th-century American folk music via the very real character of Charles Pa Ingalls (1836-1902), a highly acclaimed fiddler of the time and Laura's own non-fictional father. For the first time, in January 2012, a concert based on this music was performed before a live audience at the Loveless Barn just outside of Nashville, TN for broadcast by the PBS television network. The DVD release contains 14 performances with bonus features including a performance from Natalie Grant, notes on Pa's Fiddle Music from Dale Cockrell, and the video short Little House on the Prairie: Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder.

An effort co-produced by Dean Butler Almanzo on the Little House on the Prairie TV show) and esteemed musicologist Dale Cockrell (President of Pa's Fiddle Recordings), PA'S FIDDLE: THE MUSIC OF AMERICA features performances from some of the finest of today's acoustic musicians, enlisting the talents of award-winning musician and musical director Randy Scruggs and all-star Pa's Fiddle Band with Matt Combs (fiddle), Dennis Crouch (upright bass), Chad Cromwell drums), Hoot Hester (mandolin) and Shad Cobb (banjo), along with featured artists Randy Travis, Rodney Atkins, Ronnie Milsap, Ashton Shepherd, The Roys, Natalie Grant and Committed (NBC Sing Off Champions). Says Dean Butler of the production, 'Dale Cockrell loves traditional American music and I love the stories of American pioneer life written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Having this opportunity to share the music Laura recalled in her unforgettable novels is nothing less than a dream come true.'

Now available at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, Little House on the Prairie: The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder DVD. To learn more about it, you can visit I ordered my copy yesterday. I can't wait to watch it! 

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