Our Recommended Reading for Children & Young Adults and Recommended Reading for Adults articles have been popular resources for readers interested in Laura Ingalls Wilder and Little House on the Prairie. Here is a brief overview of Little House in the Big Woods.
Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder
Illustrators: Helen Sewell and Garth Williams
Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (May 11, 2004 )
Little House in the Big Woods is the first book in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s treasured Little House series, which was based on her life growing up as an American pioneer. This edition features Garth Williams’ interior art in vibrant full color. Told from four-year-old Laura’s point of view, this story begins in 1871 in a little log cabin on the edge of the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Laura lives in the little house with her Pa, her Ma, her sisters Mary and Carrie, and their trusty dog, Jack. Pioneer life is sometimes hard for the family, since they must grow or catch all their own food as they get ready for the cold winter. But it is also exciting as Laura and her family celebrate Christmas with homemade toys and treats, do the spring planting, bring in the harvest, and make their first trip into town. And every night they are safe and warm in their little house, with the happy sound of Pa’s fiddle sending Laura and her sisters off to sleep. So begins Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved story of a pioneer girl and her family. The nine Little House books have been cherished by generations of readers as both a unique glimpse into America’s frontier history and a heartwarming, unforgettable story.
About the Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder
Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in 1867 in the log cabin described in Little House in the Big Woods. She and her family traveled by covered wagon across the Midwest. Later, Laura and her husband, Almanzo Wilder, made their own covered-wagon trip with their daughter, Rose, to Mansfield, Missouri. There, believing in the importance of knowing where you began in order to appreciate how far you’ve come, Laura wrote about her childhood growing up on the American frontier. For millions of readers Laura lives on forever as the little pioneer girl in the beloved Little House books.
About the Illustrators: Helen Sewell and Garth Williams
Helen Sewell was born June 27, 1896, in Mare Island, California; her father was William Elbridge Sewell, who later became Governor of Guam. She studied at the Pratt Institute, including classes with Alexander Archipenko. Her first illustrations were published in 1923 in The Cruise of the Little Dipper and Other Fairy Tales by Susanne Langer. She continued to illustrate throughout her life, including works for adults as well as children. Sewell was the first illustrator of the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder (1932 to 1943), replaced by Garth Williams in 1953 and subsequent editions. She was a runner-up for the 1955 Caldecott Medal as illustrator of The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh. She died on February 24, 1957, in New York City.
Garth Williams began his work on the pictures for the Little House books by meeting Laura Ingalls Wilder at her home in Missouri, after which he traveled to the sites of all the little houses. His charming art caused Laura to remark that she and her family “live again in these illustrations.” Garth Williams illustrated classic children’s books including Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, and almost one hundred other books. A fascinating interesting biography, Garth Williams, American Illustrator: A Life, was published by Beaufort Books in 2016.
Pick up your own copy of Little House in the Big Woods here.