Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957) was born in a log cabin in the Wisconsin woods. With her family, she pioneered throughout America's heartland during the 1870s and 1880s, finally settling in Dakota Territory. She married Almanzo Wilder in 1885; their only daughter, Rose, was born the following year. The Wilders moved to Rocky Ridge Farm at Mansfield, Missouri, in 1894, where they established a permanent home. After years of farming, Laura wrote the first of her beloved Little House books in 1932. The nine Little House books are international classics. Her writings live on into the twenty-first century as America's quintessential pioneer story. Cherry Jones won the Tony(R) Award for best actress for both The Heiress and Doubt, and received two Tony(R) nominations for her work in A Moon for the Misbegotten and Our Country's Good; she can be seen in the films The Perfect Storm, Erin Brockovich, The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, and Cold Mountain.
Wilder's classic autobiographical series about growing up in a pioneer family in the late 1800s makes its audio debut in the very capable hands of stage actress Cherry Jones. This first installment introduces the Ingalls family living in the seemingly endless wild woods of Wisconsin prior to their eventual move west (to Kansas and later Missouri). Tennessee-born Jones brings a subtle (never hokey) homespun sound and comfortable pace to her reading; listeners may well imagine gathering in front of the fireplace or around a campfire for one of her storytelling sessions. But what Jones does best here is use her voice to sustain an appropriate childlike point of view. Her performance invites listeners to join in Laura's adventures and see things as she does, even though the books are written in the third person. (With this approach, for example, Jones livens up the occasional descriptive passages that can be slow going for some readers of the novel.) Award-winning fiddler Paul Woodiel provides lively interludes of "Pa's fiddle music," a joyful sound that was purportedly a staple of the Ingalls home. Ages 8-up. (May) FYI: Wilder's Little House on the Prairie and On the Banks of Plum Creek are being simultaneously released on cassette and CD, also read by Jones. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Gr 3-6-Laura Ingalls Wilder fans will rejoice at the fine presentation of her novels in audio format. Cherry Jones brings to life Pa, Ma, Laura, and all the other characters. Performed at the right tempo for the intended audience, Jones changes her voice just enough for each character so they can easily be distinguished. Singing period songs as Pa, exclaiming with delight over some new discovery as Laura, or gently scolding as Ma, Jones keeps listeners entranced. Pa's fiddle music, performed by Paul Woodiel, enhances the presentation. As with the print versions, putting the books' content into the context of events which happened over 100 years ago will help intermediate students understand why a song about "darkeys" would be included (Little House in the Big Woods), and why certain attitudes toward minorities, particularly Native Americans, are acceptable to the characters in the books.-.Judy Czarnecki, Chippewa River District Library System, Mt. Pleasant, MI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.