|Harper & Row Publishers|
In this story, the Ingalls have put the long winter behind them and have adjusted to life on the little town of De Smet. Laura has good and bad teaching experiences and is at first conflicted on her feelings for Almanzo Wilder. She comes to like him as much as she does his horses and there could be wedding bells in the future! Mary continues to enjoy life at college and the younger siblings are growing up quickly. The end of the book is the end of Laura's childhood and has some bittersweet moments.
I love the courtship in this one! Laura and Almanzo date for 3 years, which probably seemed like a lifetime back then. I also enjoyed seeing Laura's teaching moments and how she came to enjoy teaching a bit, not so much to want to keep doing it, but a bit. The scene with her first teaching position and the wife drawing a knife on her husband was frightening, but it shows how life was hard in the West, particularly for the wives. I really like also when Laura tells her parents she can't have the horses without their owner and how that is when they all truly knew she loved Almanzo. I had forgotten how sweet this book is and definitely give it 5 cups of cocoa! I think it is also a charming Newbery and one that really shows life for women on the prairie.