Little House in the Big Woods: Series & Genre

Instructor: Jenny Homer

Jenny has masters' degrees in public health and public administration.

This lesson talks about Laura Ingalls Wilder's book 'Little House in the Big Woods.' The book is the first in a series by the author about life for a family of pioneers living in America in the late 1800s.

Little House in the Big Woods

When you start reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House in the Big Woods, you get pulled into an exciting story about a girl named Laura growing up just like the title says - in a little log house in the big woods in Wisconsin. The house was the only one around for miles. There were no roads or people, but ''only trees and the wild animals'' like wolves, foxes, and bears.

This is what the little log house looked like.

Imagine what that must have been like. Laura and her family were pioneers, the first to settle in an area. It must have seemed a little scary and lonely. But Laura also felt safe with her Ma, Pa, two sisters, and dog Jack.

Laura was four years old in 1871. The book takes us through a year in her life, which was very different than life for kids today. The family had to grow and hunt for food and make their own clothes, and everyone had to work very hard.


In Little House in the Big Woods, we learn how Laura and her family lived. But when you finish the book, you probably want to know what happens to Laura as she gets bigger. Because the book is a part of a series, you can find out! A series of books is a group of books that has the same characters or are on one topic.

Cover of the book

The series is called the Little House series, and Little House in the Big Woods is the first of nine books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Laura's family does not stay in Wisconsin, but moves to other parts of the Midwest, including Kansas, Minnesota, and North and South Dakota. The books follow her family as they travel in a covered wagon and look for a place to live. One of the books (Farmer Boy) tells what it was like to grow up on a farm in New York, like the author's husband did.

Because the series takes place over many years, we watch Laura grow up, get a job, get married, and have a child. We also see how more people settled in these areas and the little houses became part of towns (like in Little Town on the Prairie). The pioneers faced bad weather, fire, and sickness, and did not always have enough food.

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