Laura's Pa wants to leave behind the crowded Big Woods and go to Indian Territory. He has heard a rumor that the government will open that land for settlers. Laura and her family are sad to leave, but also look forward to the surprises out west. They travel by covered wagon, through a scary fording of a river, to finally arriving on the prairie. There the family met friendly neighbors, including the bachelor Mr. Edwards, and Laura gets to see Native Americans. There is danger in the west, but as long as she has Pa, Ma, and Jack to protector, Laura is happy to be a little girl on the prairie.
This was my favorite book in the series growing up. I loved traveling west with Laura on the covered wagon and Mr. Edwards is one of my favorite characters outside of the family. I love the story of him meeting Santa in Independence and bringing the girls gifts through the creek flooding. This one is jam packed with excitement and reading it as an adult I realize just how lucky they were to survive all the situations, particularly the prairie fire. I am not for sure if I could have survived! I loved hear how Pa built the little house and was saddened by the end, although I know it leads the way to further adventures. The Native Americans were treated a bit harshly, but I think Pa would be a fairly rare person for the time, since he seems to want to be friendly with the Native Americans and doesn't make the same horrible comments that the other characters made. I found it fascinating that the doctor that saves them from the fever is an African-American man and that there was a complete lack of being judgmental about this from both parties. I did laugh when Pa eats all of the watermelon and then gets sick again, so that Ma feels justified in saying it was the watermelon that made him sick. I loved revisiting the prairie again and I can't wait to read Almanzo's story next month! 4 cups of cocoa!