My Little House on the Prairie story

Jennie from A Teacher’s Reflections blog wrote a wonderful post about Little House on the Prairie. This must be my all time favourite series of books and this was the style of writing and story that I aimed for when I wrote my book, While the Bombs Fell. You can read Jennie’s post here:


When I was a little girl, I was totally captivated by these stories. At the time, I only had the first three books in the series but the television series was also airing weekly on South African television, so my sister and I got a weekly dose of this amazing story during our one hour television hour, as well as me reading the book to myself and to Cath, over and over again.

I wanted to be just like Laura. I was eight years old at the time and we were living in a house in Jukskei Park in Johannesburg. This suburb hardly existed at the time and our house was one of two on a long dirt road that wove its way through the area. I used to lead my sister, Cath, who was four at the time, in an on-going live play-story where we were Laura and Carrie from the story. My mother made us each a long dress for the purpose of playing this game and we each had a pair of boots. My dress was red with tiny flowers all over it and Cath’s was a pale gauzy yellow. When she didn’t want to play the game, I borrowed hers and wore it under mine as a petticoat. I could never persuade my mother to make me a real petticoat. My mother used to plait my hair in two braids, just like Laura, with ribbons tied on the ends. You can see this in the picture of me above.

I begged my mother to help me make a bonnet which I designed myself. She gave me the  material and helped me pin it together and I sewed it by hand. I also made a nightcap in the same way. I was always a very determined person. I recall packing sandwiches for Cath and I into plastic beach buckets (which served as the tin lunch pails from the book) and off we would scamper into the veld to play our game. We would play all morning and have our picnic snack while we were out.

We had so many hours of pleasure playing this game and this book series has always been close to my heart. I read it to both my boys when they were small and I re-read it myself every now and again. I have the whole set now, of course.

Did you read any book that captivated your and which you played for hours when you were younger?


41 thoughts on “My Little House on the Prairie story

  1. What a gorgeous post, Robbie. You are very cute, looking like Laura, in your photo. How wonderful it must have been for your sister and you to have such a supportive Mum, making costumes for, and with, you to assist your play. It would have contributed greatly to your imagination which, of course, contributes greatly to your writing.

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  2. Delightful story, Robbie. You even remember the fabric of the dresses – that says how important it was to you. The Little House series is one of the best, and my favorite, too. Thank you for including my post.

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    1. Thank you, Jill. I always had longish hair until my sister and I went to stay with my Grandmother. She cut both our hairs very short. My mom was ill after my youngest sister’s birth and I think she was trying to be helpful. My mom was furious when she saw us.

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  3. I love this post and you look soooo cute!! My favourite book was Anne of Green Gables and I acted it out too. I actually lived Little House on the Prairies in real life and my daughter loved the books as it made her think of me. Of course, I’m not as old as the books but our lifestyle was similar and we did live in a little house on the prairies in Canada. No electricity, TV or running water etc. We had a very good Pa too. Like you, and Anne ShirIey, I liked to act out the books I enjoyed.

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    1. Thank you for sharing a bit more about your early years, Darlene. It is interesting to look back on your past and compare it to this modern age of ours. My mother also grew up in a house with no inside bathroom and she also had a good father who worked hard to look after his family. Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon are firm favourites of mine too.

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    1. I was always dressing up, Brigid. Michael loved to dress up when he was a small lad. He went through a Peter Pan phase and a Roman soldier phase as well as dressing up as Anakin Skywalker from Star Wars for months

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  4. How sweet! You’ve also outlined exactly how important and impactful children’s books are for children.

    I can’t recall a specific book that impacted me, but you did remind me of how my sister loved to pretend she was Ariel from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” Whenever we went swimming she would boost herself up from a rock or the side of the pool and pretend waves were splashing around her. 😀

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  5. I adored “Five Children and It” and her other books. I read them over and over. I always gravitated to books where adults were pretty absent. My daughter loved the Little House books and my granddaughter informed me yesterday that she has now read six of the Anne of Green Gables series.

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    1. I like the Phoenix and the carpet better than Five Children and It but I also loved E Nesbit. You must tell your granddaughter about the Emily of New Moon series. These are also written by L.M. Montgomery and I loved those books too.

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  6. How wonderful to hear of your playtime as girls from Little House on the Prairie 🙂 I was fascinated by Alice in Wonderland, although the Queen of Hearts scared me a little bit.

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  7. I also enjoyed the series, although living in a big city it was quite far from my experience (and being an only child even more so). Saying that, one of my favourite books as a child was Little Women, and I wanted to be like Jo… (in part because of the writing…). Lovely memories. Thanks for sharing them, Robbie.

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