When I was a kid I loved the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. They were first read to me by my parents and then when I was a little older I tackled the whole series myself. And 25 years later, I still totally love these books. Along with Harry Potter and Betsy-Tacy, they’re the ultimate in comfort reading.
But although many people are familiar with Laura’s adventures, they may not know about the other books related to that series. In the mid-90s to early 2000s books about Laura’s ancestors, namely her daughter, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, were written. Of course this was during a time when I wasn’t reading much – I was in college and apparently had better things to do with my time (like read crappy assigned reading by Russian authors).
It wasn’t until recently when I was reminded of these books after seeing a couple in the library. I checked out Little House on Rocky Ridge, which is the first book in a series about Laura’s only daughter Rose, written by Roger Lea MacBride (who was Rose’s adopted son). And honestly, I wasn’t expecting much. Because how could they compare to the original Laura books??
But you know what? I really enjoyed it. It had the same tone as the originals, and even though it was difficult at first to read about Laura as the mother instead of Caroline, the story kept me interested. As did the task of suddenly having to read the seven other books in the series!
So now I’m currently in the middle of the Rose Years, and just a few days ago started reading the first book of the Martha Years, which are about Laura’s great-grandmother living in Scotland in the late 1700s. Of course I’m loving it, and last night I actively started looking on the library’s website for not only the rest of the Rose and Martha books, but also the Charlotte books (Laura’s grandmother in Boston) and the Caroline books (Laura’s mom in Wisconsin).
However, in searching for all these I discovered something that didn’t quite settle well with me. I noticed that my library was only carrying abridged versions of some of these books. For those who don’t know (hey, there might be some), “abridged” means “shortened” or “edited” or, in this case, “dumbed-down”. Basically the publishing company decided that to keep up with trends, these 300 or so page books needed to be shorter for young readers. Which means up to around 100 pages cut out of the story. WHICH IS CRAP.
If you want to know the whole horrible story, check out the author Melissa Wiley’s blog, or go to this Amazon page where I first read about it. Wiley wrote about the Martha and Charlotte Years, and she’s obviously totally pissed about this, so much so that she decided not to write about any more adventures and actually walked away from the series. And that’s too bad because a) I love these series and I want more adventures, and b) young readers are totally capable of reading larger books – look how quickly they all poured through 800 pages of Harry Potter!
But as usual, the people at the top have money in their interest rather than the readers. Fortunately my county’s library system still has some of the original, full releases available, but good luck finding all of the them. You can find them on eBay, but make sure your wallet is full. Some are selling for hundreds of dollars.
On the bright side, the fun is ALWAYS in the search, and I will continue looking for these full versions because I REFUSE to read anything that’s abridged. Seriously, I don’t even know why abridged versions of books were even invented. They’re even worse than Cliff’s Notes. Let’s not assume that kids can’t handle bigger books any longer. And hello, there’s at least one 34-year-old out there who wants to read the COMPLETE adventures of Martha, Charlotte, Caroline, and Rose.
This ends here!
If you’re interested in these books, here’s a handy list for you…
The Martha Years
Stories about Laura’s great-grandmother, Martha Morse Tucker, written by Melissa Wiley
- Little House in the Highlands (1999)
- The Far Side of the Loch (2000)
- Down to the Bonny Glen (2001)
- Beyond the Heather Hills (2003)
The Charlotte Years
Stories about Laura’s grandmother, Charlotte Tucker Quiner written by Melissa Wiley
- Little House by Boston Bay (1999)
- On Tide Mill Lane (2001)
- The Road from Roxbury (2002)
- Across the Puddingstone Dam (2004)
The Caroline Years
Stories about Laura’s mother, Caroline Quiner Ingalls written by Maria D.Wilkes (1-4) and Celia Wilkins (5-7).
- Little House in Brookfield (1996)
- Little Town at the Crossroads (1997)
- Little Clearing in the Woods (1998)
- On Top of Concord Hill (2000)
- Across the Rolling River (2001)
- Little City by the Lake (2003)
- Little House of Their Own (2005)
The Rose Years
Stories about Laura’s daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, written by Roger Lea MacBride
- Little House on Rocky Ridge (1993)
- Little Farm in the Ozarks (1994)
- In the Land of the Big Red Apple (1995)
- On the Other Side of the Hill (1995)
- Little Town in the Ozarks (1996)
- New Dawn on Rocky Ridge (1997)
- On the Banks of the Bayou (1998)
- Bachelor Girl (1999)