On the Banks of Plum Creek (Little House Series: Classic Stories #4)

On the Banks of Plum Creek (Little House Series: Classic Stories #4)

Paperback(Full Color Collector's Edition)

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America's Original
Pioneer Girl

Meet Laura Ingalls, the little girl who would grow up to write the Little House books.

Laura's family's first home in Minnesota is made of sod, but Pa builds a clean new house made of sawed lumber beside Plum Creek. The money for materials will come from their first wheat crop. Then, just before the wheat is ready to harvest, a strange glittering cloud fills the sky, blocking out the sun. Soon millions of grasshoppers cover the field and everything on the farm. In a week's time, there is no wheat crop left at all.

On the Banks of Plum Creek is the fourth book in the Laura Years series.The Ingalls family, after moving to Minnesota, encounters a terrible blizzard and a grasshopper plague.

1938 Newbery Honor Book
Notable Children's Books of 1940–1954 (ALA)

Author Biography: Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in 1867 in the log cabin described in Little House in the Big Woods. As her classic Little House books tell us, she and her family traveled by covered wagon across the Midwest. She and her husband, Almanzo Wilder, made their own covered-wagon trip with their daughter, Rose, to Mansfield, Missouri. There Laura wrote her story in the Little House books, and lived until she was ninety years old. For millions of readers, however, she lives forever as the little pioneer girl in the beloved Little House books.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060581831
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/11/2004
Series: Little House Series
Edition description: Full Color Collector's Edition
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 50,812
Product dimensions: 5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

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.

Garth Williams is the renowned illustrator of almost one hundred books for children, including the beloved Stuart Little by E. B. White, Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban, and the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

He was born in 1912 in New York City but raised in England. He founded an art school near London and served with the British Red Cross Civilian Defense during World War II. Williams worked as a portrait sculptor, art director, and magazine artist before doing his first book Stuart Little, thus beginning a long and lustrous career illustrating some of the best known children's books.

In addition to illustrating works by White and Wilder, he also illustrated George Selden’s The Cricket in Times Square and its sequels (Farrar Straus Giroux). He created the character and pictures for the first book in the Frances series by Russell Hoban (HarperCollins) and the first books in the Miss Bianca series by Margery Sharp (Little, Brown). He collaborated with Margaret Wise Brown on her Little Golden Books titles Home for a Bunny and Little Fur Family, among others, and with Jack Prelutsky on two poetry collections published by Greenwillow: Ride a Purple Pelican and Beneath a Blue Umbrella. He also wrote and illustrated seven books on his own, including Baby Farm Animals (Little Golden Books) and The Rabbits’ Wedding (HarperCollins).

Date of Birth:

February 7, 1867

Date of Death:

February 10, 1957

Place of Birth:

Pepin, Wisconsin

Place of Death:

Mansfield, Missouri

Read an Excerpt

On the Banks of Plum Creek

By Wilder, Laura Ingalls


ISBN: 0060581832

Chapter One

The Door
in the Ground

The dim wagon track went no farther on the prairie, and Pa stopped the horses.

When the wagon wheels stopped turning, Jack dropped down in the shade between them. His belly sank on the grass and his front legs stretched out. His nose fitted in the furry hollow. All of him rested, except his ears.

All day long for many, many days, Jack had been trotting under the wagon. He had trotted all the way from the little log house in Indian Territory, across Kansas, across Missouri, across Iowa, and a long way into Minnesota. He had learned to take his rest whenever the wagon stopped.

In the wagon Laura jumped up, and so did Mary. Their legs were tired of not moving.

"This must be the place," Pa said. "It's half a mile up the creek from Nelson's. We've come a good half-mile, and there's the creek."

Laura could not see a creek. She saw a grassy bank, and beyond it a line of willowtree tops, waving in the gentle wind. Everywhere else the prairie grasses were rippling far away to the sky's straight edge.

"Seems to be some kind of stable over there," said Pa, looking around the edge of the canvas wagon-cover."But where's the house?"

Laura jumped inside her skin. A man was standing beside the horses. No one had been in sight anywhere, but suddenly that man was there. His hair was pale yellow, his round face was as red as an Indian's, and his eyes were so pale that they looked like a mistake. Jack growled.

"Be still, Jack!" said Pa. He asked the man, "Are you Mr. Hanson?"

"Yah," the man said.

Pa spoke slowly and loudly. "I heard you want to go west. You trade your place?"

The man looked slowly at the wagon. He looked at the mustangs, Pet and Patty. After a while he said again, "Yah."

Pa got out of the wagon, and Ma said, "You can climb out and run around, girls, I know you are tired, sitting still."

Jack got up when Laura climbed down the wagon wheel, but he had to stay under the Wagon until Pa said he might go. He looked out at Laura while she ran along a little path that was there.

The path went across short sunny grass, to the edge of the bank. Down below it was the creek, rippling and glistening in the sunshine. The willow trees grew up beyond the creek.

Over the edge of the bank, the path turned and went slanting down, close against the grassy bank that rose up like a wall.

Laura went down it cautiously. The bank rose up beside her till she could not see the wagon. There was only the high sky above her, and down below her the water was talking to itself. Laura went a step farther, then one more step. The path stopped at a wider, flat place, where it turned and dropped down to the creek in stair-steps. Then Laura saw the door.

The door stood straight up in the grassy bank, where the path turned. It was like a house door, but whatever was behind it was under the ground. The door was shut.

In front of it lay two big dogs with ugly faces. They saw Laura and slowly rose up.

Laura ran very fast, up the path to the safe wagon. Mary was standing there, and Laura whispered to her, "There's a door in the ground, and two big dogs--" She looked behind her. The two dogs were coming.

Jack's deep growl rolled from under the wagon. He showed those dogs his fierce teeth.

"Those your dogs?" Pa said to Mr. Hanson. Mr. Hanson turned and spoke words that Laura could not understand. But the dogs understood. One behind the other, they slunk over the edge of that bank, down out of sight.

Pa and Mr. Hanson walked slowly away toward the stable. The stable was small and it was not made of logs. Grass grew on its walls and its roof was covered with growing grasses, blowing in the wind.

Laura and Mary stayed near the wagon, where Jack was. They looked at the prairie grasses swaying and bending, and yellow flowers nodding. Birds rose and flew and sank into the grasses. The sky curved very high and its rim came neatly down to the faraway edge of the round earth.

When Pa and Mr. Hanson came back, they heard Pa say: "All right, Hanson. We'll go to town tomorrow and fix up the Papers. Tonight we'll camp here."

"Yah, yah!" Mr. Hanson agreed.

Pa boosted Mary and Laura into the wagon and drove out on the prairie. He told Ma that he had traded Pet and Patty for Mr. Hanson's land. He had traded Bunny, the mule-colt, and the wagon-cover for Mr. Hanson's crops and his oxen.

He unhitched Pet and Patty and led them to the creek to drink. He put them on their picket-lines and helped Ma make camp for the night. Laura was quiet. She did not want to play and she was not hungry when they all sat eating supper by the camp fire.

"The last night out," said Pa. "Tomorrow we'll be settled again. The house is in the creek bank, Caroline."

"Oh, Charles!" said Ma. "A dugout. We've never had to live in a dugout yet."

"I think you'll find it very clean," Pa told her. "Norwegians are clean people. It will be snug for winter, and that's not far away."

"Yes, it will be nice to be settled before snow flies," Ma agreed.

"It's only till I harvest the first wheat crop," said Pa. "Then you'll have a fine house and I'll have horses and maybe even a buggy. This is great wheat country, Caroline! Rich, level land, with not a tree or a rock to contend with. I can't make out why Hanson sowed such a small field. It must have been a dry season, or Hanson's no farmer, his wheat is so thin and light."


Excerpted from On the Banks of Plum Creek by Wilder, Laura Ingalls Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

The Door in the Ground1
The House in the Ground8
Rushes and Flags18
Deep Water22
Strange Animal28
Wreath of Roses37
Ox on the Roof45
Grasshopper Weather61
Cattle in the Hay67
The Christmas Horses80
A Merry Christmas89
Spring Freshet97
The Footbridge101
The Wonderful House107
Moving In118
The Old Crab and the Bloodsuckers125
The Fish-Trap133

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On the Banks of Plum Creek 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This one is my fav.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Living in the families little house, Laura and her family are moving to Minnesota. Pa bulids a new house on Plum Creek for them to live. Laura and her sister must adapt to a new school and learn about ways in Minnesota. But they have lots of trouble along the way. A grasshopper plague and a terrible blizzard makes this family feel isolated. But the tune of Pa fiddle brings them happyness agian. Will Laura and her Family every adapt to the changes they are going through? Will they be able to harvest any crop and make it throught the winter? Read and find out. This book is a realistic Fiction. I think that it is a wonderful story for everyone. I read them as a child and still enjoy them to this day. Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in 1867 and lived in a cabin like in LIttle house in the Big Woods. She lived until she was ninty years old. Ingalls, Laura Ingalls. ON THE BANKS OF PLUM CREEK. New York: Harper Collins, 1937.
rainbowdarling on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
On the Banks of Plum Creek is possibly one of the more interesting tales of the family's journeys. The live in a dugout, deal with blizzards and wild animals, but also have neighbors and a town close enough to visit when the weather isn't too bad. The cast of characters changes slightly because of the nearby town and suddenly life seems to be more than just about the Ingalls family. I liked the storytelling, too. Laura doesn't claim that she was a model child, or even that her sister Mary, though better behaved, was a model child. The two squabble, they struggle with tempers, jealousy, greed, temptation... normal human afflictions. I felt like I was a part of the lives of the people in the story, so alive they came off of the page.
eesti23 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the fourth book in the Little House on the Prairie series. The Ingalls family has now moved to Minnesota where they start out by living in a sod house. With the promise of the wheat crop, Charles gets the wood to build the family a nice, new clean house. However, grasshoppers arrive and ruin all of the crops and leave the family with choices to make. This is the book that the well known character, Nellie Olsen, appears. Many know here from the TV series.
momma2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
So far this is our favorite Little House story. The kids were surprised at how much action and adventure there can be settling down on a farm. Fires, floods, grasshoppers and blizzards kept even Blake excited to hear what would happen next. And Laura is at just the right age for them to identify with. We have jumped right into the next one and hope it will be just as exciting.
gillis.sarah on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is in my top three Little House books. This one takes place when Laura is still young and spunky, which is so fun to read about.
goodwink on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Ingalls family moves to Minnesota where they start out by living in a sod house. With the promise of the wheat crop, Charles gets the wood to build the family a nice, new clean house. However, grasshoppers arrive and ruin all of the crops and leave the family with choices to make.
ovistine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Third in the Little House series, again read by Cherry Jones. Quite good! This one deals with the Ingalls family's settlement in... was it Minnesota? At any rate, they start to grow wheat but are attacked by grasshoppers. Not a very happy book for the Ingalls family!
quaintlittlehead on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book follows Laura Ingalls and her family after their return north from Indian Territory to Minnesota. It mixes the focus on simplicity of lifestyle found in "Little House on the Big Woods" with the more socially aware nature of "Little House on the Prairie." While not as historically charged as "Prairie" was, the emotional impact in this book is still there, with the family struggling through hard economic times. The description of the plague of grasshoppers in this book alone makes it worth reading, as it is so vivid and impossible for a modern audience to imagine that it would seem unbelievable if this weren't based on a true story. This book also introduces the infamous Nellie Oleson character known so well from the "Little House on the Prairie" television series. It is a pleasant follow-up to the "Prairie" book, continuing in the deliciously readable narrative style of that work.
selfcallednowhere on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Probably my favourite book of the series. A great read.
amerynth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The fourth installment of Laura Ingalls Wilder's memoirs starts off a little more slowly than the other books, as the family moves to Minnesota and establishes another homestead. For the first portion of the book, the Ingalls family lives in a dugout house and the tales are more mundane. However, soon Charles builds a house for his family and familiar names and faces start cropping up for fans of the television series. I enjoyed the tales at the end of the book far more than the beginning.
punxsygal on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another good tale in the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder. For some reason, I did not remember this one. After 94 inches of snow last winter, I had a good appreciation of the blizzard scenes.
hlselz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The best so far of the Little House series.
MerryMary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A rather abrupt jump in the chronology of the series. Laura left out some difficult and sad parts of her life. When this story begins, sister Mary has already lost her sight. Wilder also completely left out an unsuccessful move to Iowa and the death of her baby brother.
wordygirl39 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the sweetest and richest in the series. You know at the end of this one that Laura's childhood is over.
Crowyhead on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was my favorite when I was a kid, but I can't quite recall why.
wenestvedt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A lot of pretty hair-raising action in this installment, what with "cruel Indians," a terrible storm, and a bear in the corral; I might wait 'til the kids are six or eight before they get this one.
Hamburgerclan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm not 100% sure, but I think the last Little House book that I've read is the first I've read. I remember one of my grade school readers had an excerpt from this volume. Anyway, I digress. Through circumstances not entirely in my control, I've ended up reading the Little House series out of order and though this book is in the middle of the series, I've read it last of all. I was expecting a slightly modified version of Little Town on the Prarie, namely a series of vignettes from the ongoing life of Ms. Wilder. Instead I was a bit surprised to read a tale of the Ingalls family getting knocked down by this problem and that, then getting back on their feet to try again. It made me wish I had made the effort to read the series in order, so I could experience the overall sweep of the series. (And perhaps Ms. Wilder's growth as a writer?) Oh, well. What more can I say than, "check it out?" (Well, I suppose I could add that Michael Landon took a LOT of liberties with the source material when he did the television show....)--J.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm hooked on these thrilling and terrifying adventures,It's impossible for me to stop reading.
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lovelittlehouseseries More than 1 year ago
Wow what a book. This was the book that inspired the TV show. Laura wrote this book wonderfully and really did a good job Illustrating it. Many good things about this book... Illustration: Very nice and wonderful. Really made the book wonderful The Famiily Values: Learning that it might not be easy but it can work out in the end. Main Story line: Laura and her family move to Plum creek also Known as walnut grove. Character: Pa, Ma, Mary, Laura and Carrie The home Run Parts: Wonderful for children and adults to read. The beautiful Illustrations. Nice story layout.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MaggieMay11 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! It was great, absorbing and some parts were funnny. I always watch the TV series. It comes on Hallmark(if you are wondering). Hope you enjoy