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The Long Winter (Little House)

(Part of the Little House (#6) Series and Unsere kleine Farm (#5) Series)

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as Pa, Ma, Laura, Mary, Carrie, and little Grace bravely face the hard winter of 1880-81 in their little house in the Dakota Territory....

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

An educational read for a child

This is, like the review title says, educational. The words are simple and easy to read, but for an elementary school student, it may be best for them to read two chapters a day so as not to be overwhelmed. A little girl I know tried to read it all in one day but felt like she was stuffing too much into her head.


For some reason, this work, of all the author's, remains one of my favorite. I was first exposed to these books, this one included, will over fifty years ago when it was read to me by a teacher. I have reread the book sever times over the years, including recently and it still appeals to the little boy lurking inside me somewhere. I do feel that this book, along with the other books in this series, is children literature at its best. The stories are somehow timeless, yet in their telling, not only do we get some great writing from a great story teller, but we are given a snap shot of our actual history, seen through the eyes of a child. Laura is older is this work of course, but due the circumstances of the books, this makes it all the more noteworthy. Cannot recommend this one highly enough.

Wow! This one is terribly exciting!

I have embarked on the reading of the "Little House" book series, an historical account of the life of pioneer girl Laura Ingalls and her family. This is the 5th book in the series and it is by far the most exciting. Pa, Ma, Mary(who is now blind), Laura, Carrie and Grace get a new homestead but they must move into the town of DeSmet for the winter and they plan to build a house on their new land in the spring. Once settled in, Pa meets a mysterious old indian at the store who warns of a blizzard that will last seven months. And he is right. It comes in October and there is still blizzard in April. It is so cold where they live that there is ice in their bucket of water every morning so they must daily heat it on the stove in order to get water. To keep warm at night they put what is called a hot flatiron in their beds. I think they are pieces of the stove that go on burners. Like all the other books in this series, you learn interesting things: How do you get your horse out of a hole in the snow? How do you make a lamp out of a button and some grease? How do you ward off and treat frostbite? What do you do when all you have to eat for months is potatoes and just when you can't stand to eat one more potato you run out? Yes, they actually ran out of food! It happened twice in this book. You will learn what happens when a family runs out of food. You will learn what it is like to begin starving. You will see what 2 men did in their effort to save a whole town from starving. You will see how some people act when pushed to their very limits. The good and the bad come out in people. When Laura wakes up every morning, there is frost on the nails that hold their roof and walls together. The blizzard has howling, screaming winds with only one day break between 4 day long blizzards. The trains cannot run at all so no food or goods of any kind come into the town. When Christmas comes Laura makes presents for everyone in her family and she is the only one who doesn't get a present at all. But she never says this, you have to figure it out. The whole book covers just this one winter when Laura is thirteen years old.There is one thing I always wanted to know that this book doesn't tell you either. How does Mary feel about becoming blind? She used to be "friend sisters" with Laura and they did everything together. Now Laura does these things with little Carrie who is now 10. If you only plan to read one book in the "Little House" series, this one should be it. You'll be thankful for your furnace, your roof, and your food. You'll find out how easy you've got it, and how to be a hero. I'm not planning to read it again, I feel cold and hungry just thinking about it, it was too realistic. But I think it was really really good for the kids to see how good they have it.

The Best In The "Little House" Series

THE LONG WINTER is the best book for a couple of different reasons. First, it's a dramatic tale of a whole town nearly starving to death during the hard winter. Secondly, this seems to be the only book in which not everything is seen from Laura's viewpoint. This was a wise decision on the part of the author, because since Pa was the only one who went out of the house during the bitter weather, he would've had to come back and relate everything to his family. In addition, the harrowing trek by Almanzo and Cap to find wheat was best told by the author switching to their viewpoint. Also, some of the tension amongst the townspeople when supplies are low and prices are high really gives the novel added flavor and drama. A third reason that THE LONG WINTER is the best of the series is that it's so educational. Even the most casual of readers can pick up survival tips by observing what Pa, Ma and the girls do to 'contrive', strive and ultimately, survive. It is true that some of the chapters have a sameness, but this makes the reader feel what it was like to face starvation in the freezing dark cold. When Laura feels 'never fully awake', she's experiencing classic symptoms of starvation. If you choose just one "Little House" book (but why would anyone stop at one?) read THE LONG WINTER.

Tale of winter of deprivation leaves you inspired

We have just finished reading this fifth book in the Laura series with our five year old daughter - she has loved all of them. I can recall reading this as a child, and the impression of the hunger, hardship, and courage of the Ingalls family stayed with me. I thought it might be a little dark for my daughter, but she really enjoyed it. We heartily recommend the entire series, even for children who are not able to read it independently yet - she started the series two months ago when she turned five, and we have read it virtually every night since (Little House in the Big Woods, on the Prairie, Banks of Plum Creek, etc.). It really is an interesting way to introduce American history, settling of the West, etc., into a child's life, especially a girl's. My younger daugther, 3, enjoys it too, but has a shorter attention span. The two of them play "Laura & Mary" all the time, and have demonstrated via their imaginary play that not just the spirit but the detail of the stories have made an impression. I don't think we have "ruined" it for them by reading it to them before they could read it on their own - I think they will return to these stories later.

Can the town and the families survive such a hard winter?

In this next book in the extended autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder (she is 13/14 years old in this story), it is late 1880 and there are indications that a long and hard winter will hit De Smet, South Dakota. Charles Ingalls decides to move his family into the small town for the winter. The first blizzard hits October 1 and the winter will last until April, 1881. The family soon finds itself trapped in the small cabin. Because no trains can come through, the town is running out of food and fuel. By the end of the book, young Cap Garland and Almanzo Wilder, Laura's future husband, go in search of some rumored wheat many miles away to try and save the town's inhabitants. The book shows the courage and resourcefulness of pioneers. The Ingalls family (and the other residents of De Smet) had to survive six-to-seven months of total isolation. One wonders if many families of today would be able to do that. The book was a 1941 Newbery Honor Book (that is, a runnerup to the Medal winner) for best contribution to American children's literature. And, to the young March 19, 1998, reviewer from Pennsylvania, it's been a long, long time since I was nine years old and I liked the book!
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