Wednesday, September 28, 2011

By the Shores of Silver Lake

W and I began reading By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder last week. I was somewhat reluctant to start it with him since he is in "first grade" and this book is the turning point in the series when Laura begins to grow up very quickly. He thought the Garth Williams cover looked exciting and he recently finished On the Banks of Plum Creek, so he wanted to read the next one. I have read it many times, but it really hit me (again) anyway and of course I was in tears by the end of chapter two. W just wanted me to keep reading as he was absorbed in the story. We are currently on chapter nine. So far W said his favorite part was when they arrived at the new camp and found Uncle Henry and their cousins Charley and Louisa there, since it was such a surprise to meet more of the characters from the Big Woods again.

I always felt touched by Laura being "eyes" for her blind sister Mary, but reading the amazingly detailed descriptions of all of the Little House books, I realize how that may have actually helped Laura really see things in depth herself and later use that gift as a literary tool. It is pretty well known that her daughter Rose Wilder Lane had a hand in heavily editing the books, but I have read many of Rose's other works and although she definitely had a gift for storytelling, it just wasn't the same as her mother's descriptions. 

"Mary" and "Laura"

Last week our Little House book club met for the first time this fall, and we have some new members along with friends from last year and it was a really nice time. The kids and Moms made corn husk dolls and chatted about the books. We dried some corn husks on a low temperature in the oven (took about an hour) and soaked them again the morning of the book club so they would bend easily to work with. It is something we would do again, we used wooden doll heads to attach since they were a bit easier to draw on, but all the dolls came out pretty cute.

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