Spotlight on PIONEER GIRL – the Autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder – annotated by Pamela Smith Hill

I seriously waited forever for this book to come out.

I heard it would be in the winter, then the spring, then the summer, then the fall. I pre-ordered it and waited months (literally). I received mine on November 30 and that was the second printing. It had already gone into a third printing.

PIONEER GIRL is the original life story of Laura Ingalls Wilder, written by her before she wrote the Little House books but from where the Little House books spring forth. Pamela Smith Hill has painstakingly created an in-depth annotated work here, giving background on the Ingalls family, other people in their lives, other items from daily life in the 1800’s, etc. It’s full of notes, pictures, and most excitedly, Laura’s own words.

You should know what you’re getting into here, though. This is not a novel or a “discovered work”. It is a large (think coffee table book) book of over 300 pages, most of which are scholarly notes and annotations stemming from Laura’s manuscript. Laura’s reminiscences are here, but most of the book is providing background, context, and historical data.

I’m slogging through it – a bit at a time. But if you are like me (a complete Laura fanatic) and often wondered “I wondered what the real Cap Garland looked like?” or “Wow – did that whole thing with Pa and the wolves really happen?” then this is the book for you.

Check out to see more on the book itself, including ordering it from the publisher.

And please consider ordering the book from a LIW homesite, such as Walnut Grove or DeSmet.

Here’s a beautifully organized listing of the homesites from my friends at Beyond Little House:

Laura’s Homesites

The beautiful cover by Judy Thompson is lovely to look at!

And just a note — I’ve had at least five people (and just about every news article I’ve seen) bring up the whole Bloody Benders bit. You’d think this book was chock full of sensationalism. It isn’t. If that’s what you’re looking for – here’s a link to Wikipedia —


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