Jason Toon


quality posts: 19 Private Messages Jason Toon

When we started reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books to our five-year-old daughter, I thought I knew what to expect. Homespun anecdotes of pioneer life? Sure, she can handle that. As a kid who always dismissed the TV show and related phenomenon as girls' stuff, I was looking forward to gentle, sun-dappled bedtime reading.

And there's a lot of that in the books. There are also wolf attacks, Indian massacres, Biblically-proportioned insect infestations, floods, fires, detailed descriptions of butchering animals, and of course big sister Mary's famous blindness. These books are much more intense than I thought they'd be - and, not coincidentally, much better, too. This is no idealized Holly Hobbie picture of country living. Laura Ingalls Wilder is hardcore, man.

Which is great, but a lot for a kindergartener to handle. When we're reading, we gloss right past the harshest parts - the chapter about chopping up a hog called for a lot of improvised editing from the readers (me and my wife). The intense stuff that's integral to the story, like Mary going blind, we try to explain so our little girl doesn't worry too much about suddenly losing her sight. "This happened a long time ago when they didn't have the doctors and medicines we do now" - that kind of thing.

Obviously, the closer these realities are to your everyday life, the less shocking it is to see them in kids' literature. Even in the 1930s and 1940s, when Laura Ingalls Wilder was writing about an already long-gone way of life, American children were still much more familiar with hardship and death than most are today. The classic fairy tales of Europe contain a lot of gory and disturbing stuff - but for kids growing up amidst plagues and poverty and pogroms, they were light entertainment.

It takes some effort to preserve the essence of classics like Little House without giving your kid nightmares, but I think it's worth it. I certainly wouldn't want to deny my kids the joys of Bugs Bunny just because he does some things that kids shouldn't imitate, or because some of the WWII cartoons were racist (we don't watch those specific ones). Are there any classics you loved as a kid that require some careful editing and explanation when you share them with your kids?

Photo: Trail House by Flickr user bwhistler, used under a Creative Commons License.

                     

Snapster


quality posts: 16 Private Messages Snapster

Remarkably a similar but actually just near-edited case happened to me just last night - I read this Sitting Bull book to my 4 and 5 year old boys and reaching the part about the Battle of Little Big Horn, I hesitated just slightly before relaying that he/they victoriously ambushed and killed Custer and all of his men. Of course, this is fact and appropriate to learn, but the book sort of surprised me with it's quick summary without buildup of all the wrongs done. I had been reading it very happy-go-lucky with Indian-as-the-simple-hero bravado and it made me have to gather my wits for a more robust Q&A on it.

Luckily for me (I was tired), my boys were still excited by the fact that they knew the "buffalo" that the book names were actually "american bison" and I think the next page had a picture of them.

then the book ends with him getting harassed out of his house and shot - not exactly the greatest bedtime story I guess... "here sons, feel the collective guilt of several generations of your ancestors... goodnight!"

Draug


quality posts: 69 Private Messages Draug

Let's not forget our classic Fairy Tales. We know what they were based upon--far Grimm-er versions--yet even when these tales have been taken and edited to smooth over the hairier parts, some frightening bits still do remain. Some Tales' more harrowing parts simply can't be changed. Hansel and Gretel is the textbook example: Dad dumps the kids in favor of his controlling wife; said kids then get lured by a cannibalistic stranger with candy and are nearly eaten. There's no better way of putting it, no matter how you try.

And Disney is a prime example of smoothing over Fairy Tales. The Little Mermaid, for one. In the version I read, the mermaid turns into sea foam. Yet in the movie she gets to stay with her prince.

Personally, I'm all for keeping these classics in their proper, frightening conditions. Things are far more interesting that way. A million princesses marry a million princes...but how many of them turn into sea foam due to unrequited love?

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nihil


quality posts: 3 Private Messages nihil
Draug wrote:Let's not forget our classic Fairy Tales. We know what they were based upon--far Grimm-er versions--yet even when these tales have been taken and edited to smooth over the hairier parts, some frightening bits still do remain.



I have a 1909 edition book of Grimm's Fairy Tales and I'll second that. Some of the stories are almost unrecognizable from what they've been transformed to in modern times.

shan24


quality posts: 3 Private Messages shan24

Jason, did you see that the Little House on the Prairie musical is coming to the Fox in St. Louis starting Nov. 24? Your daughter might like that. I think my sisters and I are going.

Jason Toon


quality posts: 19 Private Messages Jason Toon
shan24 wrote:Jason, did you see that the Little House on the Prairie musical is coming to the Fox in St. Louis starting Nov. 24? Your daughter might like that. I think my sisters and I are going.



Whoa, that's weird - because this weekend I'm taking my daughter to see this much smaller-scale Laura Ingalls Wilder musical. Maybe she'll see two Little House stage extravaganzas this fall...

shan24


quality posts: 3 Private Messages shan24
Jason Toon wrote:Whoa, that's weird - because this weekend I'm taking my daughter to see this much smaller-scale Laura Ingalls Wilder musical. Maybe she'll see two Little House stage extravaganzas this fall...



Hmmm, I didn't know about that one! We went to a show there a couple years ago, it's like going to a high school auditorium. It was "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus", my kids were really into those books at the time the show was here. Turned out to be really funny and they still talk about it once in a while. I thought they'd forget all about it by now.

dontwantaname


quality posts: 13 Private Messages dontwantaname

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Sorry, we only read picture books to the kids.

I remember in one of them, Laura was describing the inside of the train to Mary.
It made me feel like I was in the train with them.
I am sure that Mary's blindness really helped Laura's writing skills when she got older.

I would have been interesting to have read them to my kids.
I read them as a kid, before the TV show.
Then I watched the show.
Would be interesting to see the different views... as a kid, a teen and a parent.


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ScotiaLee


quality posts: 9 Private Messages ScotiaLee

So, this isn't a classic literary example, but a few years ago, I was babysitting a child in a Catholic family. The parents gave me a book about Catholicism to read to the boy before bed, but I was told to skip all the parts about altar boys because with all the scandals in the church, they didn't want their son to ever be an altar boy.

amcatanzaro


quality posts: 8 Private Messages amcatanzaro

I think it depends on the age of the kid and the beliefs of the parent.

I let my kids watch all Bugs Bunny, I read them the original Hansel and Gretal and I try to explain that bad things can happen to good people. Also, never buy things from ACME.

Are there themes they aren't going to understand? Sure. But completely shielding children from the horrors of life aren't going to help them deal with it any better.

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compunaut


quality posts: 2 Private Messages compunaut

While the commercial marketplace strains mightily to 'edit out' most intense/difficult scenarios in order to maximize sales, educational spaces (schools, daycare, etc) are often more responsible (realistic?): my 7yr-old has learned to appreciate the tragedies of 9/11, the Challenger explosion, even the Titanic, thru careful group discussion 'in-class' and (age-appropriate) research - both Internet & library books.

fait


quality posts: 16 Private Messages fait
amcatanzaro wrote:Also, never buy things from ACME.



...but they have such excellent anvils!


But to guide myself back to the topic, I'm finding that I'm not only having to do some tap-dancing or 'splaining not just for violence, death, or "adult situations" in the classics, but we also frequently land up dealing the concepts of sensitivity, political correctness, and sometimes misogyny.

Get into the later books in the "Little House" series, and you'll have those to deal with, too. I think it was "Little Town on the Prairie" (or maybe the book after that) that featured a chapter about attending a show put on by "darkies". Those "minstrels" were actually white people in black face and included Pa.

keedalee


quality posts: 0 Private Messages keedalee
amcatanzaro wrote:I think it depends on the age of the kid and the beliefs of the parent.

I let my kids watch all Bugs Bunny, I read them the original Hansel and Gretal and I try to explain that bad things can happen to good people. Also, never buy things from ACME.

Are there themes they aren't going to understand? Sure. But completely shielding children from the horrors of life aren't going to help them deal with it any better.



I think knowing to never buy things from ACME is one of life's most important lessons - better to learn it early!

keedalee


quality posts: 0 Private Messages keedalee

I just finished reading "Charlotte's Web" to my girls (ages almost 3 and 4 1/2) and we were able to discuss some hard things such as Wilbur's fear of being killed and then Charlotte's death. I would rather read these kinds of books than some of the newer 'early' reader kinds of books, where I'm changing the word 'stupid' to 'silly' because we don't approve of that word.

We just started reading the original 'Wizard of Oz' and the girls are really enjoying it. Am hoping that we can watch the movie together for the first time after we have finished the book.

Any other suggestions for bedtime reading to children of this age? I've got the Little House books - but the chapters are so long. Loved them when I was younger - that and Nancy Drew!

lissa929


quality posts: 0 Private Messages lissa929

I read all of these books on my own when I was in 3rd grade and don't recell being particularly horrified by anything. Of course I was a farm girl myself, so to read about butchering animals would have been no suprise to me anyway. I thouroughly enjoyed them all. The only one I ever found depressing was the last one. I believe it was called, "The First Four Years," where Laura gets married and loses a newborn child, but beyond that I recall the whole book being quite a downer. I remember thinking how depressing it must be to get married and start a family ...

eetimm


quality posts: 0 Private Messages eetimm

I read the "Chip Hilton" series when a young man, and always enjoyed the exploits of the all-star sports hero who lived with his widowed mother.

I was trying to interest my 11-year-old in the series and, out of a sense of nostalgia, I scanned several pages of one of the books.

To my surprise, I discovered that the word "ejaculated" had a much different meaning in the 1950's (used interchangeably with the word "exclaimed")

It was very disturbing to read of Chip's conversations with his mother where he suddenly ejaculated. Makes the 50's appear to be a very strange time indeed.

megamerican


quality posts: 1 Private Messages megamerican

I was reading Curious George to the kids and George was smoking a pipe. Now that I think about it, I probably could have chalked the pipe smoking up to all the other dumbass moves Curious George made. But we just glossed over it, scratching our heads and saying, "Gee, I don't know why they show him smoking a pipe. That's a really bad idea!"

spin0rama


quality posts: 0 Private Messages spin0rama
keedalee wrote:I just finished reading "Charlotte's Web" to my girls (ages almost 3 and 4 1/2) and we were able to discuss some hard things such as Wilbur's fear of being killed and then Charlotte's death. I would rather read these kinds of books than some of the newer 'early' reader kinds of books, where I'm changing the word 'stupid' to 'silly' because we don't approve of that word.

We just started reading the original 'Wizard of Oz' and the girls are really enjoying it. Am hoping that we can watch the movie together for the first time after we have finished the book.



Feels kinda silly sometimes, but we replace stupid with silly too. The more they hear a word, the more likely they are to use it - but it freaked me out when my son told me that someone said the "S" word on the playground - he meant stupid, by mind went to just four letters...

Happened to be listening to the Naxos CD unabridged version of 'Wizard of Oz' that I got on kids.woot with my 7 year old this weekend [those CDs are great btw]. My eyebrows went up when I heard the part about the magical axe dismemberment of the tinman. My son heard it read by his 1st grade teacher last year, but I think she had done some editing. He had no problem with the unabridged version this year, but I'll need to explain that the story will be a bit different once we get to the movie...

spin0rama


quality posts: 0 Private Messages spin0rama
keedalee wrote:
Any other suggestions for bedtime reading to children of this age? I've got the Little House books - but the chapters are so long. Loved them when I was younger - that and Nancy Drew!



We started on the Magic Treehouse series when my son was about 4 -

http://www.marypopeosborne.com/

We continue to enjoy these and also have some CDs that are read quite nicely by the author. Chapters are short, but it's sometimes hard to stop. Books are good for boys AND girls since the main characters are a brother and sister... that love to read!

SkeletonJill


quality posts: 0 Private Messages SkeletonJill
keedalee wrote:

Any other suggestions for bedtime reading to children of this age? I've got the Little House books - but the chapters are so long. Loved them when I was younger - that and Nancy Drew!



My nephew is 18 months, and I read him Agatha Christie (The Miss Marple series, mostly) and he seems to like it.

pmqroth


quality posts: 0 Private Messages pmqroth
keedalee wrote:I just finished reading "Charlotte's Web" to my girls (ages almost 3 and 4 1/2) and we were able to discuss some hard things such as Wilbur's fear of being killed and then Charlotte's death. I would rather read these kinds of books than some of the newer 'early' reader kinds of books, where I'm changing the word 'stupid' to 'silly' because we don't approve of that word.

We just started reading the original 'Wizard of Oz' and the girls are really enjoying it. Am hoping that we can watch the movie together for the first time after we have finished the book.

Any other suggestions for bedtime reading to children of this age? I've got the Little House books - but the chapters are so long. Loved them when I was younger - that and Nancy Drew!



Anything by Roald Dahl (like "James and the Giant Peach" or "Danny the Champion of the world"), the Beverly Cleary books (Romana and Beazus books), and "Wind in the Willows" were my favorites to have read to me as a child.

xtyw


quality posts: 0 Private Messages xtyw

The only time I found myself wildly contriving ways around the narrative was when my daughter was 11 and I got the bright idea to read her "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater". All was well until page 83, when Eliot opens Arthur Garvey Ulm's masterpiece and reads, "I twisted her arm until she opened her legs..." It was more than a little embarrassing to say aloud to my kid, but I managed an excuse to stop halfway through the sentence. Since then, I've been somewhat more cautious in my selections.

Seriously, though, it's better to have a frank discussion about the n-word over "To Kill a Mockingbird" than to pretend it isn't said. Sometimes people aren't silly. Sometimes they're stupid.

chrisanneshubert


quality posts: 0 Private Messages chrisanneshubert
xtyw wrote:The only time I found myself wildly contriving ways around the narrative was when my daughter was 11 and I got the bright idea to read her "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater". All was well until page 83, when Eliot opens Arthur Garvey Ulm's masterpiece and reads, "I twisted her arm until she opened her legs..." It was more than a little embarrassing to say aloud to my kid, but I managed an excuse to stop halfway through the sentence. Since then, I've been somewhat more cautious in my selections.

Seriously, though, it's better to have a frank discussion about the n-word over "To Kill a Mockingbird" than to pretend it isn't said. Sometimes people aren't silly. Sometimes they're stupid.



I have to agree, sometimes people aren't silly. I don't generally change words when Im reading to my kids. They learn more by what I don't say on a day to day basis. Reading books and stories that were from a different time, when values and norms were different, make for some good discussions with my kids about what I believe, what is good and right etc... I want them to hear it from me, not on the play ground. Reading the word stupid, or getting through some uncomfortable passages only open up opportunities to be a parent, and pass on what is good and right, and what is not and even why. Don't pass up those opportunites with your kids!!!!

Ldyandrea


quality posts: 0 Private Messages Ldyandrea

I read all of those books as a kid myself, though admittedly when I was probably about 10 or so. Nothing horrified me, even the pig butchering.....actually, I found it interesting since it was obviously a very normal thing to be happening in that day and age. I certainly didn't understand the context of the minstrel show and the "darkies" in blackface at the time I first read about them; as I don't have kids, I can certainly imagine that it might be challenging to explain that kind of event in the context of our present-day society.

That being said, I really love these books, and even as an adult found them to be able to hold up as outstanding literature.

fabiosir


quality posts: 0 Private Messages fabiosir
amcatanzaro wrote: Also, never buy things from ACME.





Congratulations! You're a moron.


Believe it or not, ACME is a real company. You're basing your opinions on cartoons.

I hope you feel good about yourself putting actual people out of work with your comments.

j-o-h-n


quality posts: 4 Private Messages j-o-h-n

We're currently reading Lord of the Rings to our daughter (who is 4). The other day she came into the kitchen wearing a blanket over her head and my wife asked "Are you an Elf?". "Mommy! I'm a Dark Rider!"

Higher prices AND crappier blanks, no thank you

sfeitler


quality posts: 5 Private Messages sfeitler
fabiosir wrote:Congratulations! You're a moron.


Believe it or not, ACME is a real company. You're basing your opinions on cartoons.

I hope you feel good about yourself putting actual people out of work with your comments.



Seriously? I'm pretty sure that comment about ACME was meant to be flip--a joke. There's about a gazillion* companies named ACME...


Back sort of on-topic, we read Roadl Dahl, Wizard of Oz and follow-ons, and Magic Tree House. And a bunch of other stuff, but it's mostly schlock.

We don't change most words, although when I read Just-So Stories to my oldest when she was 2, I censored the n-word. If I read it to her now (she's 7), I might discuss it instead of censoring.

*may be a slight exaggeration

bethlehemstarr


quality posts: 19 Private Messages bethlehemstarr

Kids books are always such a strangely controversial subject. Kids programming on television falls into the same odd miasma. For some reason, adults really seem to think that kids need pablum. Moralistic, didactic tales of obvious right and wrong, with obvious solutions, and happy endings. Avoid anger, mean people, death, unnecessary cruelty and sadness at all costs.

I suppose I come from a different point of view that many (perhaps most) people. Life is filled with many awful and terrible things. Life is filled with sadness and loss, cruelty, callousness and coldness. Life often does not have easy solutions. Life is also filled with wonderful joy and hope and creation and love and friendship and kindness and beauty. Life is filled with serendipity and defeat. The most wonderful and amazing adult books are those that manage to stir that element of reality. That defeat and sorrow live hand in hand with victory and joy. So- in my mind, the absolute best children's books should contain the same messages.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst is a great example of a book not shying away from the fact that sometimes, life leaps into the vacuum. The way the book addresses a crappy day in a kid's life is liberating to read and talk about and discuss. My little one loves that book. At 3, after having the world's most awful day, he told me, "Momma- today I am Alexander".

That is what wonderful books do for a child. Bob the Builder can never impart that to a kid.

Maybe I come from a different place in life experience. My son's father is deceased; he died before my son was born. So dead fathers are a fact of life in my son's life. Because of this, I think I more actively try and find books with depth for him. Since he has been forced to face a reality that is not pablum, I don't want to show him only books that are. Else- he might get the sad idea that life outside of his is filled with perfection. Mothers and Fathers and sugar plum fairies. No sorrow or death or pain. And, I think that would be an unfair thing to do to him. To do to any child.

Now, don't get me wrong. I think that perhaps glossing over the rather graphic butchery of a hog in the excellent Laura Ingalls Wilder books is probably advisable. There is a difference between allowing your child to know that misery and sadness and sorrow are normal- and giving them nightmares!

For a thought, if your kids are happily sitting through Laura Ingalls Wilder books- they'll be of the same age I was when my parents read aloud Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons books. They are set in England in the time between the two world wars, so there are some dated views of women in the books, but they are excellent adventure books for kids. Wonderfully written. I highly recommend them as read aloud books. When I read them now, it's still with the sound of my father's voice reading them to me- 22 years ago Quite memorable.

There's a weakness in my heart for wonderful children's literature. So many adults seem to not realize that there really are great kids books out there. There are wonderful picture books, and children's books and young adult books, that are interesting, and fun, and full of adventure. And there is scaffolding. Many parents seem to think that it doesn't matter which one their kids read, or they read to their kids.

caliguian


quality posts: 2 Private Messages caliguian

It was kind of a shock to us when we got our kids a Tom and Jerry DVD... we remembered them being funny, but we didn't remember them being so full of ways to hurt/kill people (or animals). The writers were very creative, but every episode is pretty much one violent scene after the other. Of course, the kids love it (just like we did).

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ThunderThighs


quality posts: 560 Private Messages ThunderThighs

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caliguian wrote:It was kind of a shock to us when we got our kids a Tom and Jerry DVD... we remembered them being funny, but we didn't remember them being so full of ways to hurt/kill people (or animals). The writers were very creative, but every episode is pretty much one violent scene after the other. Of course, the kids love it (just like we did).

Kind of the "Itchy & Scratchy" of our era?



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munkiedee


quality posts: 0 Private Messages munkiedee
ThunderThighs wrote:Kind of the "Itchy & Scratchy" of our era?



That's exactly what I thought of it when my husband bought it for my daughter. And he won't let her watch the Simpsons. Hmmmm - Something's wrong here...

Munkie Dee

happymainemom


quality posts: 1 Private Messages happymainemom

Hmmm....my $0.02 is all I can offer.

I think that we need to take into consideration what our own child can handle when they are at a very young age. But, I also think that as a society in general we gloss over our history.

The classics have been abridged, abridged and abridged some more in order to provide a more "acceptable" source of reading for children. We have the opportunity to teach them a real view of history...with all its brambles and pitfalls. We give them knowledge of how things were before us--even the weird language! It opens us up to conversation of the differences of what we do and what is acceptable now. We allow them to see that life and the world doesn't revolve around them but expands their thinking to how people and cultures behaved in a different era.

The book/play "Peter Pan" and the book "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (or the sequal) uses the word ass, but I took that opportunity to teach my daughter, who was 8 at the time, that 100 years ago and even 50 years ago the word held a different meaning than today. And although we don't allow that word to be used in our house, we have an understanding of the language of the time and place we were reading about.

Classics provide us with a living representation of life at that time. I think that we do a disservice to the study of history and literature when we gloss over how life really was. Tom Sawyer and Uncle Toms Cabin, for example, are excellent representations of life during that time period. Wrong viewpoints? Harsh language and treatment? Uncomfortable situations? Yes. But also a stunningly accurate portral of the times...the writer wrote from real life.

All of Perrault's fairy tales, including Tom Thumb, Sleeping Beauty, Puss in Boots and Cinderella end with a moral. They were written as a lesson to the children. Grimms fairy tales reflected the times in which they were living. All very important for us to understand.

Having all that said, would I choose to read the unabridged version of Tom Thumb to my 5 year old? Probably not, but I wouldn't wait past 8 or 9 years old either. You have to know your own child. If the act of butchering a hog for food would give them nightmares, then perhaps wait a year to read them the book. And if you leave it out, come back to it later when they can have the full understanding of the time period. If we always change the words, meanings, and content of the "Great Books" and classics then we edit many of the reasons why they became great in the first place.

vwtick


quality posts: 2 Private Messages vwtick

Being residents of rural NH while we did read the Laura Ingalls books, we also read 'Look to the Mountain' which is set in NH in the 1700s and is excellent but also not too graphic.

long haired freaky hippy geek

ElanorRigby


quality posts: 14 Private Messages ElanorRigby
j-o-h-n wrote:We're currently reading Lord of the Rings to our daughter (who is 4). The other day she came into the kitchen wearing a blanket over her head and my wife asked "Are you an Elf?". "Mommy! I'm a Dark Rider!"



My Dad didn't read LotR to us as kids, but he did read the Hobbit. We loved that story! It was written for children in mind. The poetry is fantastic

Even on a cloudy day, I'll keep my eyes fixed on the sun...

LeahD


quality posts: 1 Private Messages LeahD

I'm a teacher, and I HIGHLY recommend "The Read Aloud Handbook" by Jim Trelease. It's now in its sixth edition, and it is just a great resource for finding great books to read aloud to kids of various ages. He includes a great mix of classics and newer books. He also has a website that is full of goodies:
http://www.trelease-on-reading.com/

And, thank you for taking the time to read to and with your kids -- a love of reading is surely one of the greatest gifts that you can share!

timothydburke


quality posts: 0 Private Messages timothydburke

What did you expect when you started reading these books to your kindergartener? The Little House books aren't children's novels, but Laura Ingalls Wilder's autobiography. That doesn't make them bad books. In fact they are very facutal and accurate to the way life was like and quite historical--not at all like the television series, which doesn't even try to maintain any historical accuracy. My 11 year old daughter absolutely loves them. She's been reading them (over and over again) for about 2 years now and has really gotten her interested in history.

I have never read them myself (but my wife has), but I wouldn't recommend them for a 6 year old. I would, however, wait a couple of years and then let them read them herself. Yes, they lay out the harsh realities of pioneer life, but they are also full of virtue.

thursdaynext


quality posts: 0 Private Messages thursdaynext

i read my kids Animal Farm when they were young but i left out some of the gorier parts.

emilyb0902


quality posts: 35 Private Messages emilyb0902
timothydburke wrote:What did you expect when you started reading these books to your kindergartener? The Little House books aren't children's novels, but Laura Ingalls Wilder's autobiography. That doesn't make them bad books. In fact they are very facutal and accurate to the way life was like and quite historical--not at all like the television series, which doesn't even try to maintain any historical accuracy. My 11 year old daughter absolutely loves them. She's been reading them (over and over again) for about 2 years now and has really gotten her interested in history.

I have never read them myself (but my wife has), but I wouldn't recommend them for a 6 year old. I would, however, wait a couple of years and then let them read them herself. Yes, they lay out the harsh realities of pioneer life, but they are also full of virtue.



Well, since they are marketed more as children's books, I think it was reasonable to read Little House books to a 6-year-old (especially Little House in the Big Woods, where Laura is younger). I would argue that most copies of that book have a kid-friendly picture on the cover and large type inside. I read the books in elementary school, alongside the Beverly Cleary Ramona series, without being traumatized (I too was intrigued by the pig slaughter). I was a huge fan of the Little House books. I don't remember Little Town on the Prairie so I may have missed that one and can't say anything about the minstrel show. I probably asked my parents about some issues raised by the book: Would my older sister get scarlet fever? Had they eaten head cheese when they were kids back in the olden days? What kind of fabric is cotton lawn? Can I have a bonnet? I don't remember any nightmares.

One last thing - what would you think of an adult that you saw reading "On the Banks of Plum Creek"? Probably not that they had a thirst for historical knowledge about pioneer life, but rather that they were behind the curve in terms of reading skills. The books are Laura Ingalls Wilder's life story, but they are also written from a child's viewpoint and appeal to children because of it.

Dariana


quality posts: 0 Private Messages Dariana

I read all four of my children classics from the time they were born. Until they were two or so I read the original versions of Ivanhoe, A Tale of Two Cities, etc and then when they got old enough to understand I switched to the illustrated children books and read a chapter or two a night. Our library has over 50 of these books in it, and my kids excel in vocabulary. Of course I also added in Where the Wild Things Are, Is Your Mama A Llama, all the If you Give a Mouse books as well as the Froggy series and Mo Willem's Pigeon books.

It doesn't matter what you read to your children, as long as you read. Love of books is the best gift you can give them.

battra92


quality posts: 4 Private Messages battra92
Snapster wrote:Remarkably a similar but actually just near-edited case happened to me just last night - I read this Sitting Bull book to my 4 and 5 year old boys and reaching the part about the Battle of Little Big Horn, I hesitated just slightly before relaying that he/they victoriously ambushed and killed Custer and all of his men. Of course, this is fact and appropriate to learn, but the book sort of surprised me with it's quick summary without buildup of all the wrongs done. I had been reading it very happy-go-lucky with Indian-as-the-simple-hero bravado and it made me have to gather my wits for a more robust Q&A on it.



I always thought it sad that Custer is taught as a horrible villain to schoolchildren these days. He's actually a pretty polarizing figure but you have to look at him as a man who did his duty and was a bit of a glory seeker.

Still, it's better than letting your kids play Custer's Revenge...