Did you read "Little House" series to your preschoolers?

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  • HSMom03

    Just wondering about others experiences in trying to read the “Little House” books to their preschoolers.  I have been trying with my boys, who are just under 6 and 4, and they do not seem to be real interested.  I also found the pig slaughtering early on the 1st book (Little House in the Big Woods) to be a little graphic…  I wonder if I should go through the “My First Little House” series with them first?  You know, the picture books intended for preschoolers.  Does anyone know which order they go in?  Just wondered what others would suggest.  I can keep trying with the chapter books, they may get into it.  We have been sick lately, and I could be reading at the wrong times.


    When my dd was 4 and my ds was 6, we listened to the first two books on audiobook at the library. dd liked it more than ds and would role play Laura for fun. Now 3 years later, we are going through it again with The Prairie Primer as unit studies, with narration and activities. They are getting more out of it now than they did 3 years ago. Someone please correct me if I am wrong, but I think the next books have more story and less technical how-to’s. Also there is a great set of music that goes with the books that you might want to play for them:


    I have read some of the picture books after the audiobook we listened to, but not in any particular order. They like these as well.

    Rachel White

    I would suggest not doing the picture books; they are twaddle and, IMO, they take the spirit and soul out of the books. I think it is best to wait to read books at the appropriate time. The wait is worth it. You’ll face this decision over and over on whether to introduce books too early due to your own excitement to read it to them, but if you read them too early, they will either be uninterested or it could turn them off for future readings-and that’s bad.

    As for the description of the pig slaughter: one of the wonderful things about her books are the detailed accounts of their lifestyle (one could almost do the same things based on her descriptions); it allows us insight into a way of life that is almost extinct, but was so vital to our country’s character early-on.

    So in a nut-shell, put them aside and read all the great living books appropriate for their ages now – there are so many – and pick up Little House when they are around 9 and 7.

    I second the audio books and the Pa’s Fiddle music that goes along with it, too.


    I did read Little House in the Big Woods to my kids at 4 and 6. They enjoyed it but if yours don’t I would stop and try something else. Maybe try again when they are a little older.




    I started the Little House series way back when my oldest was about 5. She liked it – but the littler ones had no patience for it. I just kept reading it to the oldest and when the littles wanted to listen, they did. Eventually, the littles started enjoying it, too.

    My younger daughters very much enjoy the picture books – they are watered down compared to the real thing—BUT they provide a visual and the littler girls so enjoy them. I find the pictures inviting – I think the artist tried very much to be respectful of Garth Williams and yet make the artwork her own.

    I think you could use the picture books if you want. And read the real books later. My personal preference would be to read the real books to the older children (when they’re ready) and allow the younger to look at the picture books.


    We started Little House with my oldest son when he was newly 3 and he love it.  We read all the books and also Laura’s daughter’s books too.  He lived Laura and I feel those books were instrumental in his love of nature that was so much a part of his childhood.  I never read them to my next child, my only daughter ironically.  She just never liked them.  My youngest two are boys and I tried them when they were about 4 but they weren’t interested.  I tried again when they were 5 and they loved them.  We’re almost done with the series.  I’ve put it on hold for a while for no particular reason. 

    I would not bother with the preschool versions and just wait until your children are ready.  I probably should have tried a few more times with my daughter.  I didn’t think to try them when she was say, 9.  (She’s 13 now and even last year I asked if I could read them to her.  She said no.  I guess she’ll be in for a treat when she reads them to her own children!)  Try again next year and don’t worry about it.  Find some other wonderful book that appeals to your little ones and keep on. 🙂


    We started about a year ago with my 3.5dd at the time and she loved the first 2, farmer

    Not was a whole different thing. She wanted to know where Laura and Mary went. So we took a break. We are now reading On the banks of Plum Creek to dd4.5 now and ds2.5 and they both enjoy it. Ds talks about it but while I’m reading has a hard time laying in bed and listening.


    Yup, I read them aloud to ages 4 & 5.  Little House in the Big Woods was the first real chapter book our son listened to at age 4. He loved them, however, I must say we are a rural farm family and I believe he could relate to some of what was happening.  He got very excited over Farmer Boy.


    My sister just started tag team reading them with her 7 year old. They are beginning homeschoolers and this is their first experience reading living books.  It’s been a bit of a struggle, but they just finished Little House in the Big Woods and asked for the next book :))


    The Little House books are awesome and shouldn’t be replaced with the picture book IMHO.  I would encourage you to hang in there.  Maybe try snuggling up at bedtime or some other quiet time when there’s no interuptions or distractions if this is possible.






    We’ve had better luck with chatper books at ages 6 and up (for the most part).  My DC loved the pig chapter.  Embarassed


    My husband has been reading the series to my 4 year old (I think they started when he was 3 though) chapter by chapter for bedtime. He loved Little House in the Big Woods and Farmer Boy the best I think. Some of the others have things that are over his head (romance, Mary going to college…he didn’t know what college was), but they are both enjoying it and I plan to encourage him to re-read them later on his own when he can maybe get more out of them. They are just starting “These Happy Golden Years”. I actually encouraged them to take a break from the series (because I thought it was getting a little over his head) but they both wanted to continue.
    If your kids aren’t interested I would wait…they are such good books so I would want them to enjoy them! 


    My boys did not seem interested when they were young. We are reading them now at almost 9 and 11! Yep, that old! But they are absolutely enjoying them..ALOT! And they truly understand and we get to have fun discussions about them too!

    If you do read them when they are younger, I do encourage you to get them to read them on their own when older! They are not to be missed, IMHO! 🙂


    If I remember correctly, we read Little House when my dc were the same ages as yours, 4 & 6. Mine loved every minute of it! They still grab the books off the shelf and read them during free time. Maybe just persevere a bit longer? They are wonderful books; don’t let them go unread, even if you do hold off for a year or two!


    We’ve read the first three to varying ages and this coming January thru next fall I will be reading the whole series (possibly not the last book) to my younger children (they will be 9, 8, 6, 4, 3, 2, 6mos when we begin).


    We started reading the series at 4 & 5 and we almost done.  My girls have really enjoyed them, but now at almost 6 & 7 they are enjoying them so much more. 


    My kids didn’t enjoy them very much at all, so we stopped (same with Winnie the Pooh). My daughter just finished the entire series though at age 8, she really likes them now so I’m glad we waited. I don’t think my son will ever like them, but he has plenty of other things to read (Swiss Family Robinson, etc)

    I’ve always found it better not to force books on them that they really aren’t enjoying (not that they have to like everything you do, but for a read aloud I think it should be enjoyable, where they are asking for more chapters in a sitting)

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