Review: The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Long Winter (Little House, #6)
Title: The Long Winter
Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder
Illustrator: Garth Williams
Publisher: Harper and Row 1968
Genre: Fiction
Labels: Winter of 1880-1881, Little House on the Prairie Books
Format: Hardcover
Age: 8 and above
Pages: 335
Rating: 5 Stars
File:Train stuck in snow.jpg
When The Long Winter begins Laura, "is going on 14". Pa reluctantly lets her help him bring in the hay. The work is hard, but Laura perseveres with a positive outlook. Working as a team, they are able to get more done. Later Pa brags about her hard work, building up her self-worth.
Pa soon notices how the birds are leaving the Dakota territory in a hurry---flying south. He also notices animals building up their homes thicker than usual. The first snow storm arrives in early October. Ma has a positive and cheerful attitude, she chooses not to focus on the possibility of an arduous winter. Pa has an unsettled feeling. After an old Indian pays a visit to town with a prophecy, Pa decides to move the family from their claim on the open prairie to a store front home.
The Long Winter is the 6th book in the series of books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Besides her parents, Laura's sister's are: Mary, Carrie, and Grace. Mary is blind, most of her days are spent inside. She is given small chores to do. Carrie is helpful in the house. Grace is too young to help. Laura is the child that feels compelled to help Pa on their claim on the prairie.
In The Long Winter Almanzo Wilder and his brother Royal have a big part.

My Thoughts:
The Little House books are comfort books for me. When I was a child and even in to young adult years I owned all the books and read all of them several times. I'm sad I did not keep them.
It's a tie between The Long Winter and Little Town on the Prairie as to my favorites in the series.
Reading the books as an adult gave me a different view from when I read them as a child. I notice things that I did not as a child.
For example:
  • Laura's writing includes the senses of smell, vision, sound, and touch.
  • She writes of her fear of the dark.
  • She writes of cabin fever. 
  • She writes of fear of running out of food. 
  • And in each of these above reasons she does not tell us, she expresses it in the story. This gives deeper meaning, lasting meaning, an impression that does not leave the reader.
The previous generations of people, Laura's included, did not waste anything! Sometime during the 1950's we began to be a throw-away society. More is better, not make do with what we have. Previous generations were also thankful for what they had.

I'm so thankful for these precious books. What a blessing they've been in my life and I'm sure countless other reader's lives!

Next, I'll be reading By The Shores of Silver Lake.

Newbery Honor Winner 1941

Link @ Harper Collins Publishers, with ability to browse book:

Link @ Amazon:
Paperback $5.61
Hardcover $13.85

For further reading, a website Beyond Little House. This site gives further links on Laura Ingalls Wilder.
See also Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Homes, a museum in DeSmet, South Dakota.
Laura Ingalls Wilder.jpg
Laura Ingalls Wilder 1867-1957


  1. It's interesting how many people cite The Long Winter as their favorite of the LH books--it was always my least favorite. I found the winter interminable, and while the story of overcoming hardship and especially Almanzo and Cap's trip to find the wheat was heroic, it was tough reading for me.

    I liked your observations about LIW's perspective and what she focuses on--the scenes she creates are truly memorable, perhaps because she does fully engage all the senses.

  2. "Precious" is a fitting descriptor of these books. Precious at any point in one's life but especially so if they were part of one's childhood. I am determined to give my (almost) born granddaughter the opportunity to know Laura as a wee one.

  3. Thank you Jane and Debbie for visiting and leaving comments!
    Debbie I have a granddaughter that is age 9, I plan to introduce her this summer to the Little House books.
    Jane, I too have noticed that many people love The Long Winter, it's a tie for me in that I love Little Town on the Prairie.


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