Has your family ever moved?
Even if they haven't, you know the drill. Your bed is taken apart, your clothes come out of the closet, and your stuff comes off the wall. All your belongings, including your favorite toys and books, are put in a box until you get to your new home.
Now imagine putting all your stuff in the back of a wagon and moving to a place where there are no roads, no electricity, and no grocery stores. That's what Laura Ingalls Wilder's family did, and in the audiobook Little House on the Prairie (narrated by Cherry Jones), you'll hear about Ingalls' adventures.
The Big Woods was getting crowded. Too many people and too many horses went past the house while Laura and her sister Mary were playing outdoors. Pa Ingalls decided that it was time to leave, so he hitched up the horses, piled everything into the covered wagon, and put Ma up front. He put Laura, Mary, and baby Carrie in back, and they headed from Wisconsin through Minnesota and Iowa into Kansas.
Roughly 40 miles from Independence, Mo., in the middle of the prairie with sky as far as the eye could see, the Ingalls' wagon stopped. In that quiet spot, there was water for the horses, Pet and Patty. There was plenty of food for Pa to catch. In the winter, there would be fur to trap for warm clothing and when spring came, there'd be room for a garden. Happy with his spot on the prairie, Pa cut some trees for logs and built a cabin for the family to live in.
There was always something fun to do on the prairie. Laura and Mary spent long days spying on bullfrogs, rabbits, and snakes and playing with Jack the bulldog and Bunny the mule. Ma often needed help with interesting chores. In the evening, Pa always played his fiddle and sang.
But there was danger on the prairie, too. Indians weren't always friendly but they were definitely scary. Fire, wind, and high water were a concern. And who knew if Santa could find one little house in the middle of a big field when Christmas came?
Remember how much you loved the TV adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family? With a new narrator (cowboy hats off to Cherry Jones) and an affordable price, now's a good time to re-introduce your kids to this charming series.
But first, a reminder: while there isn't any profanity or anything violent in this exciting and beloved classic, almost-100-year-old children's book, you should remember that Ingalls wrote with a voice from long ago. That includes her "un-PC" words about Native Americans. While it might have been true to Ingalls, the context of what was written about the 1870s might not be understood by today's kids.
Still, for a 6-to-12-year-old with a good imagination and a longing for the Old West, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better story. At under $15, Little House on the Prairie is an audiobook to move on.
Terri Schlichenmeyer is the author of the Detroit Lakes Newspapers book review column, "The Bookworm Sez." Schlichenmeyer has been reading since she was three years old, and never goes anywhere without a book. She lives in West Salem, Wis., with her two dogs and 9,000 books.