Our family has been reading through the Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House Collection aloud every night. Currently, we are finishing up “The Long Winter”.
This book has been my favorite in the series. While each book presents the trials and triumphs of the Ingalls family, “The Long Winter” gives us a glimpse of a family and a town teetering near starvation as they struggle through extreme cold and blizzards. Throughout these events the Ingalls talk about God and His design, sing His praise, pray for friends and exhibit a steadfast love for each other. It is in these circumstances that we see the true faith, grit and determination that made them successful pioneers.
It is a book that offers up a banquet of character studies:
Charles Ingalls: A man beloved by his family, whose ability to read the signs of the coming winter and accept the sage commentary of an old indian saves their lives. His nemesis is starvation as supplies run low and the train doesn’t come. His response is steadfastness. He does all the chores without complaint. He rebukes the wind.
Mr. Foster: A man, who through his excitement and lack of self-control, scares away the only meat (antelope) the town folks will see in the winter. In our own home, we now say “Don’t be a Foster” when someone is at risk of ruining a situation for others due to their own lack of self-control. He is also a man that redeems himself by butchering his oxen as a substitute for the antelope.
Caroline Ingalls: A diligent, loving mother who teaches her children by example. An encouraging wife that brings to mind the Proverbs 31 woman: prepared, resourceful, kind whose children rise up and call her “Blessed”.
The examples go on and on. It is a book for the whole family, because it’s lessons are timeless and it’s characters are multifaceted.