Little House Minicast – Shownotes

Posted 15 February 2011 by

We try to keep the podcasts to an hour, and well…we got rather chatty about Laura Ingalls Wilder and didn’t cover all of the Little House Books in review. So, during this mini-cast we finish the final three books of the series. Beginning with Little Town On The Prairie, and ending with The First Four Years – which was published, unedited, posthumously in 1971.

In addition to the brief book summaries, and several tangents, we got so involved  talking about oranges that we forgot to mention the SECOND major thing that happened to Laura on the day of Ben Woodworth’s party – she experienced electricity for the very first time! Was, in fact, ZAPPED, by it – not sounding too fun from over here.  Here is a machine from about fifteen years after this party – when you got to PAY for your torture- er, curing what ails you.

Ow. Ow. Ow. Wonder why you don’t see these around anymore?

Because we just can’t drop the oranges, here is another tidbit:  Laura  had mentioned having an orange just once before this: At the church Christmas tree in Walnut Grove, each child received a little bag of popcorn with an orange at the bottom. However, this was edited out of the final manuscript!

Often times  we are so organic in our discussions, we like to have the chance to clarify, you know, round out the information. For instance, Nellie Oleson was a completely fictional character based on three separate “mean girls” from Laura’s childhood:

  1. Nellie Owens was, in fact, from Walnut Grove, had a brother named Willie, and her parents ran the mercantile.
  2. Genevieve Masters took over the nastiness in DeSmet – she’s the one who boasted about having come from “Back East” and who made friends with “Lazy Lousy” Eliza Jane Wilder.
  3. Stella Gilbert’s role was rather innocuous – she wasn’t mean to Laura, but did pursue Almanzo at the same time that he and Laura were courting. Innocent Almanzo felt sorry for her and invited her to buggy ride with Laura, thinking that they were friends. Au Contraire, Almanzo!!

When asked by children after the books were published “What happened to Nellie,” Laura often referred to Genevieve Masters’ move back East and her early death from pneumonia – so we’re going to give the “Nellie Oleson” title to Ms. Masters… but how much of the bad behavior was based in fact, there’s just no way to know.

Our parting advice: Be nice to your elementary school friends, kids! You never know who just might write a book!

As always, music for our podcast comes courtesy of Music Alley. Visit them at

3 Responses to Little House Minicast – Shownotes

  1. yay!!! loved the mini-cast!
    cant wait to get the hint for the next episode!
    its hard to wait you guys 😀

    thought the audio was perfect ♥

  2. Sandy says:

    I grew up reading all the Little House books, too many times to count, and as fate would have it, when I ended up with two sons and no daughters I worried my chance to share these books was over. Much to the contrary, when I began reading the books with my oldest son, he loved them. In addition to the wonderful descriptions of homesteading life, the books inspired many interesting discussions about changing attitudes of what was considered totally acceptable then (Pa in black face performs in a minstrel show?) and what would be completely racist now. Laura is completely open about the difference in her and Pa’s feelings about Native Americans, as opposed to Ma who clearly dislikes the natives she encounters in “Little House on the Prairie”.

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