Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Friday, September 5, 2014

Little Author in the Big Woods by Yona Zeldis McDonough

Little Author in the Big Woods: a biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder
by Yona Zeldis McDonough; illustrations by Jennifer Thermes
Henry Holt. 2014
ISBN: 9780805095425
Grades 3-5
This reviewer used an ARC supplied by the publisher.

Laura Ingalls Wilder, who began her writing career in her 60’s, based her Little House books on experiences she had as a child. Though Laura was true to actual events, there are things she decided not to include, such as the death of her baby brother. In Little Author in the Big Woods, McDonough describes more of the details of Laura’s real life, while pointing out the differences from the fictional series as well as the many similarities. She hopes that the reading experience will be deepened by knowing the facts that inspired these beloved stories.

Fans of the Little House series will enjoy learning more about Laura and her family in this narrative biography that extends beyond her marriage to Alonzo but into her writing career and her final years. Did you know that Laura was 87 years old when she took her first plane ride? Of her nine books, five would be award the prestigious Newbery Honor Medal? Thermes black & white illustrations, which pay homage to Garth Williams’ work, are placed throughout the text and convey a sense of joy and playfulness, elements found in Ingalls’ stories.

Back matter includes quotes from Laura, games Laura played, how to make a corn-husk doll, recipes, a glossary, and further reading.

Though there are other biographies about Laura Ingalls Wilder, this particular title, with the larger font and illustrations, will appeal to newly independent readers.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting about your review on Twitter. The timing of the book's release in poignant in that this weekend offers the Annual Wilder Days Celebration at Mansfield Missouri. Wilder Days is a family event with activities at the town square and city park. There is even more celebrating at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Homes and Museum. I will be posting about the book and your review at the Facebook page and at Ozarks Mystique, a regional blog with focus on Rocky Ridge Farm.