Maria D. Wilkes first read the Little House books as a young girl and has been fascinated by pioneer history ever since. She did extensive research on the Quiner, Ingalls, and Wilder families, studied original sources and family letters and diaries, and worked in close consultation with several historians and the Laura Ingalls Wilder estate as she wrote the Caroline Years books. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, Peter, and her daughters, Grace and Natalie.
Gr 3-6‘Set in the 1840s, when Brookfield, WI, was a frontier town rapidly increasing in population, this story is the first in yet another series of "Little House" books. It focuses on Caroline Quiner (mother of Laura Ingalls Wilder) as a six-year-old in a family of six children recently left fatherless. Their loving mother brings the grieving family through a difficult winter and into a springtime of hope and anticipation as they work together to cope with the great emptiness left by their father's death. The youngsters experience apprehension concerning the first day of school and the embarrassment of wearing worn clothing and shoes with holes. No matter what the difficulty, Mother and Grandmother kindly and firmly guide the children to accept and make the very best of their situation. They relish the special Christmas bread that Mother bakes and appreciate the kindness of helpful neighbors. As the family survives the hardships of rural-frontier life, they grow in strength, experience, and love for one another. The story works well as historical fiction, giving great attention to interesting details of daily events. Black-and-white drawings provide a clear extension of the text. This warm family story follows nicely in the style of the "Little House" books.‘Toni Dean, Patchogue-Medford Library, NY