Friday, September 26, 2014

All About Middle Grade Review: Little Author in the Big Woods

Little Author in the Big Woods by Yona Zeldis McDonough, illustrated by Jennifer Themes, September 16, 2014. 176 pages. Published by Henry Holt and CO (BYR). Source: publisher.
Many girls in elementary and middle school fall in love with the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. What they don’t always realize is that Wilder’s books are autobiographical. This narrative biography describes more of the details of the young Laura’s real life as a young pioneer homesteading with her family on many adventurous journeys. This biography, complete with charming illustrations, points out the differences between the fictional series as well as the many similarities. It’s a fascinating story of a much-celebrated writer.
First Sentence:
In 1839, Caroline Lake Quiner was born in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, area.

I am sure that many of you, like myself, you have at one point or another read the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. While it has been some time since I last read that series, I really could not pass up the chance to learn a little more about the author herself in Little Author in the Big Woods because there were some things mentioned in the book that I did not know about the author and her books.

Now that you know why I was drawn to reading this book I want to share why I enjoyed this biography on Laura Ingalls Wilder.

While The Little House on the Prairie books are in fact about Laura Ingalls Wilder's life, I enjoyed how this biography expanded upon her life and what was not included or changed from her actual life to that of the books. There were a couple things that surprised me about the differences from the books to that of the biography that Yona Zeldis McDonough penned.
   One of the reasons I enjoyed Little Author in the Big Woods so much would have to be that you learn more about not just Laura Ingalls Wilder, you learn about her family and how her relationship with her family shaped her. Yes, you do see that in the LHotP books, but I felt that there was a stronger bond mentioned throughout the biography that really highlighted this fact. On a biography note, I would definitely recommend this to readers who want to know a few secrets about the author and who are interested in seeing the minor changes from that of the author's life to what was mentioned in the series.

As for the writing, I really enjoyed Yona Zeldis McDonough's writing and how well she captured the life and times of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Part of what pulled me into her writing style was that it reminded me so much of of what I loved about the Little House on the Prairie books themselves. She just really captured the magic that is Laura Ingalls Wilder's life and books, which made this a pretty fun and fast read.
  Even if you are not familiar with the author and books that this book is based after, I really think so many people would enjoy it for the shear fact that the writing takes you right into the adventure that was living on the prairie and dealing with the struggles that it brings. This is really just a well researched and written piece that I cannot recommend enough.

For me, I really cannot just talk about Little Author in the Big Woods without talking about Little House on the Prairie and Laura Ingalls Wilder. And that is why I mentioned them so much in my review; partly also because her books were such a big moment in my reading journey-even though my first introduction to them was my mom reading them to me and my sisters.

Final Verdict: Little Author in the Big Woods- A wonderful biography on a much loved author and her life work. Definitely one that I recommend to all, be they new or old, fans of the Little House on the Prairie books.

Little Author in the Big Woods earns

this book was received in exchange for an honest review.

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