Sunday, August 4, 2013

Legacy Documentaries {Schoolhouse Review Crew}

One very clear memory from my childhood was the night of the premier episode of Little House on the Prairie, on March 30, 1974. You see, I had already begun reading all of Laura Ingalls Wilder's books, so I was excited beyond belief to watch the premier.

When an opportunity came up to review for Legacy Documentaries, I was thrilled! We had a choice between one about Laura, or Almanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura. While I would have been thrilled with either one, I especially wanted Almanzo, for my boys.

The video is divided in to two parts: Life Before Laura, and Wilder Homestead Today, and is narrated by none other than Dean Butler, who portrayed Almanzo Wilder in the Little House television series. He is also the executive producer.

Life Before Laura talks about Almanzo's childhood, the farm he grew up on in northern New York, his life on the farm, and the horses his father raised. We learn how he ends up in DeSmet, South Dakota, which is where he met and married Laura.

We also learn how the book, Farmer Boy came to be, with Almanzo sharing his childhood stories with Laura, and Laura writing them out long-hand, and their daughter, Rose, helping type them up, etc.

I found the second portion equally fascinating, and it made me long to plan a trip to take the boys to New York to see the Wilder Homestead some day. Of all the "Little House" homes, the Wilder home is the only original home on it's actual site, and has been restored.

Everyone in the family will enjoy this documentary, but it's target audience is ages 8-13, the reading ages for the books.

As I mentioned earlier, I began reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's books when I was pretty young, I think probably 10 or 11. And frankly, I would read through the whole series at least once a year, until I was into my early 20s.
The Little House on the Prairie television series was one of my favorites while I was growing up, too. It has become my children's favorite series as well, thanks to having the whole series on DVD! In fact, they are making a "run" through the series right now...precipitated this time by watching Almanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura.

I began "collecting" Laura Ingalls Wilder paraphernalia, too, especially when I began homeschooling. Books about Laura; books that are compilations of articles she wrote for the paper when they lived in Missouri. I even have a cassette tape of her speaking, as well as some fiddle music, in honor of Pa and his fiddle.

One of my dreams is to travel to all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder home sites some day, and I definitely would want to include the Wilder homestead in New York. At this point I have only been to one, though: Mansfield, Missouri, just last summer.
So, I guess you could say I am, um...a Laura Ingalls Wilder, "Little House on the Prairie" fanatic. And I am really pleased to be able to have this DVD added to our collection! I am very grateful to Mr. Dean Butler, and the Schoolhouse Review Crew, for this exciting opportunity to view and share this documentary with you. Be sure to read the other reviews.

Cost: Almanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura, $21.95. Little House on the Prairie: The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder, $24.95. There is also a DVD about Pa's fiddle! The Botanist Boy wants that one!

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