The beginning of the audiobook version of this book is fun – especially if you are also a Little House fan. You’ll have many “I felt like that too!” moments, as the author describes her love of what she calls “Laura World.”
Wendy McClure, the author of The Wilder Life is on the extreme end of the Little House research continuum, however. After a while, I found myself withdrawing – wishing I hadn’t heard that bit of myth debunking. I was quite happy believing that most things in the books were based on emotional, if not factual, truth.
Of special interest are the details about how the tv series overtook the books in popularity and the legal battles over the “Little House” brand, or LHOP, as the author calls it.
The end is satisfying and thought-provoking. McClure ties in what she learned about how Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder told their stories with how she came to terms with memories of her mother.
Song of Years (1939) The state of Iowa was still young and wild when Wayne Lockwood came to it from New England in 1851. He claimed a quarter-section about a hundred miles west of Dubuque and quickly came to appreciate his widely scattered neighbors, like Jeremiah Martin, whose seven daughters would have chased the gloom from any bachelor’s heart. Sabina, Emily, Celia, Melinda, Phoebe Lou, Jeannie, and Suzanne are timeless in their appeal — too spirited to be preoccupied with sermons, sickness, or sudden death. However, the feasts, weddings, and holiday celebrations in Song of Years are shadowed by all the rigors and perils of frontier living. This novel captures the period in Iowa’s history of Indian scares and county-seat wars, as well as the political climate preceding the Civil War. Mrs. Aldrich based this novel largely on her grandfather’s adventures in Iowa and the stories she heard as a child. from bessstreeteraldrich.com
I read this book while I was in high school. I would lay on my bed with the breeze coming though the windows and am transported onto the Iowa prairie. Bess’ description of the prairie, and every breathless detail made the characters believable, and the characters stay with me long after I finished the story. This book would appeal to readers on many different levels. First of all, there is the historical aspect of the struggle of life on the prairie when Iowa was just becoming state. Second, there is the story of a young girl, unsure of herself, growing to womanhood and finding out who she really is as she faces events that are out of her control. We witness Suzanne’s first infatuation, her crushing disappointment when she realizes her feelings are not returned, and, eventually, a true love that will outlast anything. The reader realizes that though the times may change, the emotions of growing up do stay the same. Sometimes we need a good, old-fashioned story. It still remains my favorite book of all time.
40 years ago today, while millions watched from their living rooms, Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon and suddenly we had a whole new perspective on our world. We’ve come a long way since then – space shuttles and space walks and space stations – but that first step and all of the struggle and work that led up to it continues to fascinate us. The library has all kinds of books about the Apollo missions including:
Rocket Men: the Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon by Craig Nelson
Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon by Catherine Thimmesh
Moondust: in Search of the Men Who Feel to Earth by Andrew Smith
Apollo: the Epic Journey to the Moon by David West Reynolds
If you’d prefer to watch your history (and watch actual footage taken at the moon) check out these DVDs:
From the Earth to the Moon – the acclaimed HBO series co-produced by Tom Hanks.
In the Shadow of the Moon: Remember When the Whole World Looked Up – original NASA film footage and interviews with surviving astronauts recall this epic chapter in American history.
The Right Stuff - fictionalized account of the early Apollo missions brings a very human face to the science and technology.