Thursday, March 31, 2011

On the Banks of Plum Creek

I took these photos of a random house while walking to some friends' house for dinner one Saturday evening the other weekend. I liked the colours of the flaking paint.

And the sky.

And the flowers out the front.

While in Christchurch I finished the third book in the Little House on the Prairie series, On the Banks of Plum Creek. I am loving this series, especially because I've got a bit of a system going where I read one 'adult' novel/non-fiction book, then one Little House book, to break it up a bit.

More action and events happen in On the Banks of Plum Creek than either of the previous books, for two reasons I think - one being that Laura and Mary are older and so have more independence and responsibility. Another being that they are living closer to a town/settlement so they get to go to school and church and meet other children and have more interaction with people outside their own family.

The tone/style of the book seemed slightly different from the previous two - there's more dialogue and more of something a bit harder to describe but what seems like energy, in the writing and in the progression of the plot. I had read that there has been debate about how much involvement Laura Ingalls Wilder's daughter Rose had in the writing and/or editing of the books and On the Banks of Plum Creek did make me wonder if this was one of the books in which Rose played a bigger role in the writing and that's why the tone or style seemed a bit different. But the tone/style difference isn't major and may simply be a reflection of the two points I noted above.

(I suddenly seem to be writing an essay. I think I miss studying English Literature.)

Something that has irritated me throughout has been the way Ma and Pa say each other's name almost every time they speak to each other - "'Tomorrow, we'll be settled again. The house is in a creek bank, Caroline.' 'Oh, Charles!' said Ma. 'A dugout. We've never had to live in a dugout yet.'"

"'I'm glad I had to carry them only three miles. Think of it, Caroline! Town's only three miles away! Just a nice walk....How do you like it, Caroline?'"

Also, Mary and Laura have such rigid characterisations - Mary is quiet, well-behaved, with perfect manners, and likes to stay indoors helping Ma and playing with Carrie. She gets scared easily and when she does she freezes up and can't move or speak. Laura is chatty, asks lots of questions, prefers to be outside with Pa, and pushes the boundries. Laura is always the one who acts in the face danger, no matter how scared she is.

I loved this line, "But Laura was glowing warm. She had never felt so fine and frisky. Mary said, 'I'm surprised at you, Laura. I wouldn't go out in the rain and get all wet like that.'"

It's such a Mary thing to say.


  1. oo and make sure you get the little house on the prarie cook book, it's kind of fun

  2. I didn't even know it existed! I just looked it up and it looks great - I will have to try to get my hands on a copy. Thanks!