Laura's Books

Books were an important part of Laura's childhood, although the Ingalls family did not own very many. The books the family did have are mentioned often in Laura's books, and some are pictured below:

Polar "They had never seen a bird like it. It was small, but it looked exactly like the picture of the great auk in Pa's big green book, The Wonders of the Animal World." (The Long Winter).

This book is mentioned frequently in Laura's books, although the title is actually The Polar and Tropical Worlds, by Dr. G. Hartwig. Click here to look through the book. (Click the pages to turn them.)

Millbank "She (Laura) took the book named Millbank, and opened it, and looking up anxiously at Ma she read, 'The doors and windows of Millbank were closed. Crape streamed from the door knob --'

'Oh, Laura,' Ma said, 'you are not reading! You are only reciting what you've heard me read to Pa so often.'" (On the Banks of Plum Creek)

Click here to read Millbank (click pages to keep turning until the story begins).

Fifth "When study time was over, Ma took the Independent Fifth Reader. 'Now,', she said, 'let's see how much you can repeat from memory...'

..."Tomorrow afternoon was something to look forward to. The Fifth Reader was full of beautiful speeches and poems and she wanted to remember perfectly as many of them as Mary remembered." ( The Long Winter)

Blue Back Speller That afternoon, again, Carrie missed three words in her spelling lesson. Laura's heart ached...

...Then Miss Wilder closed her speller, and said sadly that she was disappointed and grieved. 'Go to your seat, Mamie, and study this same lesson again,' she said. 'Carrie, you may go to the blackboard. I want to see you write, 'cataract', 'separate', and 'exasperate' on the board, correctly, fifty times each." (Little Town on the Prairie).

Noah Webster's The Elementary Spelling Book, commonly referred to as The Blue Back Speller, was the most frequently used speller by frontier schools. It is quite likely this was the speller used by the Ingalls girls.

Click here to browse through the speller.

American History for Schools, by G.P. Quackenbos, was part of the Minnesota Text-Book Series. Laura and Mary used this history book in Walnut Grove, Minnesota. Click here to read the book. History Book
Pure "I used to go to sleep listening to father play songs, dance music, and hymns on his old violin or to the singing of hymns from that old 'Pure Gold' hymn book which we all knew by heart before spring." (Carrie Ingalls, 1903)

"Merry, Merry Christmas" (right) is mentioned in By the Shores of Silver Lake.

Merry, Merry Christmas

Laura Ingalls Wilder, Frontier Girl

Copyright © 1996 - 2008
Rebecca Brammer & Phil Greetham
Do not use without permission.