These Happy Golden Years (Little House Series: Classic Stories #8)

These Happy Golden Years (Little House Series: Classic Stories #8)

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The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as Laura grows up in the little town on the prairie. Fifteen-year-old Laura lives apart from her family for the first time, teaching school in a claim shanty twelve miles from home. She is very homesick, but keeps at it so that she can help pay for her sister Mary's tuition at the college for the blind. During school vacations Laura has fun with her singing lessons, going on sleigh rides, and best of all, helping Almanzo Wilder drive his new buggy. Friendship soon turns to love for Laura and Almanzo in the roamntic conclusion of this Little House book.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812421248
Publisher: Perfection Learning Prebound
Publication date: 09/01/1978
Series: Little House Series
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(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

Laura Leaves Home

Sunday afternoon was clear, and the snow-covered prairie sparkled in the sunshine. A little wind blew gently from the south, but it was so cold that the sled runners squeaked as they slid on the hard-packed snow. The horses' hoofs made a dull sound, clop, clop, clop. Pa did not say anything.

Sitting beside him on the board laid across the bobsled, Laura did not say anything, either. There was nothing to say. She was on her way to teach school.

Only yesterday she was a schoolgirl; now she was a schoolteacher. This had happened so suddenly. Laura could hardly stop expecting that tomorrow she would be going to school with little sister Carrie, and sitting in her seat with Ida Brown. But tomorrow she would be teaching school.

She did not really know how to do it. She never had taught school, and she was not sixteen years old yet. Even for fifteen, she was small; and now she felt very small.

The slightly rolling, snowy land lay empty all around. The high, thin sky was empty overhead. Laura did not look back, but she knew that the town was miles behind her now; it was only a small dark blot on the empty prairie's whiteness. In the warm sitting room there, Ma and Carrie and Grace were far away.

Brewster settlement was still miles ahead. It was twelve miles from town. Laura did not know what it was like. She did not know anyone there. She had seen Mr. Brewster only once, when he came to hire her to teach the school. He was thin and brown, like any homesteader; he did not have much to say for himself

Pa sat looking ahead into the distance while he held the reins in his mittened hands and now and thenchirruped to the horses. But he knew how Laura felt. At last he turned his face toward her and spoke, as if he were answering her dread of tomorrow.

"Well, Laura! You are a schoolteacher now! We knew you would be, didn't we? Though we didn't expect it so soon."

"Do you think I can, Pa?" Laura answered. "Suppose ... just suppose ... the children won't mind me when they see how little I am."

"Of course you can," Pa assured her. "You've never failed yet at anything you tried to do, have you?"

"Well, no," Laura admitted. "But I ... I never tried to teach school."

"You've tackled every job that ever came your way," Pa said. "You never shirked, and you always stuck to it till you did what you set out to do. Success gets to be a habit, like anything else a fellow keeps on doing."

Again there was a silence except for the squeaking of the sled runners and the clop-clop-clop of the horses' feet on the hard snow. Laura felt a little better. It was true; she always had kept on trying; she had always had to. Well, now she had to teach school.

"Remember that time on Plum Creek, Half-Pint?" Pa said. "Your Ma and I went to town, and a blizzard came up? And you got the whole woodpile into the house."

Laura laughed out loud, and Pa's laugh rang like great bells in the cold stillness. How little and scared and funny she had been, that day so long ago!

"That's the way to tackle things!" Pa said. "Have confidence in yourself, and you can lick anything. You have confidence in yourself, that's the only way to make other folks have confidence in you." He paused, and then said, "One thing you must guard against."

"What, Pa?" Laura asked.

"You are so quick, Flutterbudget. You are apt to act or speak first, and think afterward. Now you must do your thinking first and speak afterward. If you will remember to do that, you will not have any trouble."

"I will, Pa," Laura said earnestly.

It was really too cold to talk. Snug enough under the heavy blankets and quilts, they went on silently toward the south. The cold wind blew against their faces. A faint trace of sled runners stretched onward before them. There was nothing else to see but the endless, low white land and the huge pale sky, and the horses' blue shadows blotting the sparkle from the snow.

The wind kept Laura's thick black woolen veil rippling before her eyes. Her breath was frozen in a patch of frost in the veil, that kept slapping cold and damp against her mouth and nose.

At last she saw a house ahead. Very small at first, it grew larger as they came nearer to it. Half a mile away there was another, smaller one, and far beyond it, another. Then still another appeared. Four houses; that was all. They were far apart and small on the white prairie.

Pa pulled up the horses. Mr. Brewster's house looked like two claim shanties put together to make a peaked roof. Its tar-paper roof was bare, and melted snow had run into big icicles that hung from the eaves in blobby columns larger around than Laura's arms. They looked like huge, jagged teeth. Some bit into the snow, and some were broken off. The broken chunks of ice lay frozen into the dirty snow around the door, where dishwater had been thrown. There was no curtain at the window, but smoke blew from the stovepipe that was anchored to the roof with wires.

Mr. Brewster opened the door. A child was squalling in the house, and he spoke loudly to be heard. "Come in, Ingalls! Come in and warm yourself."

"Thank you," Pa replied. "But it's a long twelve miles home and I better be going."

Laura slid out from under the blankets quickly, not to let the cold in. Pa handed her Ma's satchel, that held her change of underclothes, her other dress, and her schoolbooks.

"Good-by, Pa," she said.

Table of Contents

Laura Leaves Home1
First Day of School11
One Week21
Sleigh Bells30
A Stiff Upper Lip46
A Knife in the Dark60
A Cold Ride69
The Superintendent's Visit78
Almanzo Says Good-by82
Jingle Bells89
East or West, Home Is Best95
Holding Down a Claim114
Mary Comes Home123
Summer Days130
Breaking the Colts140
The Perry School147
The Brown Poplin157
Nellie Oleson170
Barnum and Skip185
Singing School201
Barnum Walks209
Almanzo Goes Away217
The Night Before Christmas223
Teachers' Examinations232
School Days End236
The Cream-Colored Hat239
Summer Storm251
Sunset on the Hill259
Wedding Plans265
"Haste to the Wedding"272
Little Gray Home in the West279

Customer Reviews

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These Happy Golden Years 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 49 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I adore this book! You should definately read this if you have the chance. Laura and Almanzo are falling in love, and he always takes Laura on those sweet little buggy rides. BTW Miss Annoying Nellie comes along, it's short, but it's enough to get you ready to show Nellie who's boss! Enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book and shows that true love is not always clear.
Gypsymom4 More than 1 year ago
My 11 year old daughter needed this - it was the only book missing from our Little House on the Prairie collection. She loved this anniversary edition with the full color pictures, thicker paper pages and was so excited to add this to our collection. Great book!
lovelittlehouseseries More than 1 year ago
I Like the Little house series, I think they are clean and good. The Illustrations are very good, and the way Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote this was very nice. I have read the the nine books and i have read them over and over. About the Book: The book is very nice and shows how hard Laura worked. I like the book more in the middle because Almanzo and Laura are more dating. It shows how the weddings weren't this big things. Laura didn't even have a wedding dress. Then after there wedding they went home and Laura started Cooking like it was no big deal. The book is really good and i would recommended it too children of Any Age.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was awesome! To the reviewer that replied that their love kind of distanced itself after they engaged i need 2 point out something. Once you're engaged to a guy do U really spend tht much time talking away rather than spending your moments together thinking about your future or perhaps romancing. we all know through Wilder's details that she cherished every moment w/ her future hubby. this is an awesome book 4 all ages that need 2 remember what real love was about in the past for UR family & a guy rather then todays version of love where most guys aren't gentlemen & most people ignore their families when they call. You've just got to love Laura's books! I loved them!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although this book is romantic, it is written for all ages, even for people who aren't romantic at all! I thought that was a cool part of the book. It was a sweet, touching book of all times!
Guest More than 1 year ago
some of the earlier books are a little to childish for older readers, but this book is the best of her series. Very entertaing and pleasure able. could read over and over. Ending could have been a little more interesting. The strange thing is that after Laura and Almonzo are engaged, they don't talk much? Or is it that she did't record the conversations?
Guest More than 1 year ago
this was my favorite book of all of them. i loved it. i cant say it enough . I LOVED IT. ok i truly loved. at the end- this might sound babish- but i cried. laura was leaving home and mary was gone oh how much sadness she much have felt i really felt sorry for her. now i cant pick the book and and look at the cover with out crying. im going to write my favorite part of the book. golden years are passing by these happy golden years
Guest More than 1 year ago
Laura has caught the eye of Almanzo Wilder. She and Almanzo go for buggy rides and he brings her home every Friday after the school, she is teaching, is out. Almanzo asks her a certain question which your gonna have to read the book to find out!!( hint: a ring)
SeriousGrace on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When we meet up with Laura again she is fifteen years old and off to teach school at the Brewster settlement, twelve miles away. This is a period of great confusion for her. On the one hand, she is still a child, wanting to go to school to learn and to be with friends. On the other hand, she is a young adult, wanting to teach school to earn money for her family. Mary is away at a school for the blind and needs help with tuition. As she says, "only yesterday she was a schoolgirl; now she was a schoolteacher" (p 1). During this time Laura's fashion sense is becoming more adult with floor-length dresses and fancy hats. She takes up sewing on Saturdays to earn money for new clothes. She is starting the receive the attention of Almanzo Wilder as well. While this attention is, at first, unsettling to Laura she begins to look forward to his cutter (winter) and buggy (summer) rides. Soon they are courting under the guise of taming wild horses, but I don't think I will be spoiling anything to admit their inevitable engagement seemed sudden and uneventful to me.Probably the most interesting part of the story was when Laura was negotiating her wedding vows with Almanzo. She doesn't want the ceremony to include the word "obey" in it. Almanzo is fine with that but when Laura learns the reverend also feels strongly about not including the vow of "obey" she is shocked. Yet she is not a feminist. She doesn't want the privileged of voting. Interesting.
rainbowdarling on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
These Happy Golden Years is an interesting change from even just the previous book in the series, though certainly very different from the first six. Laura is more adult in the stories and even takes on real work of her own - as a teacher. Her trials with trying to control a class of students, some of whom were older than her, and venturing into her first romance. It's interesting to read about how the courtship between Laura and Almanzo came about and how, despite Laura's attempts to keep Almanzo away. Most interesting is Laura's own form of 'feminism', which greatly varies from that of even twenty years later. Laura is against using the word 'obey' in her wedding vows, but not particularly in favor of votes for women. The stories are sweet and subtly romantic, lacking the overtures and public displays of affection of subsequent generations and all the sweeter for it.
Kiwiria on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love all of Laura's books, but if I had to choose a favourite, it would probably be this one. It picks up exactly where "Little Town..." leaves off and describes Laura's life now that she's suddenly a grown-up school teacher. I couldn't imagine teaching school at an age where I still ought to GO to school! It's fascinating. And the courtship between her and Almanzo is just adorable. I always finish this book with a content sigh :)
mrsarey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Laura works as a teacher and becomes engaged to Almanzo.
amerynth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"These Happy Golden Years" is one of my favorites in the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It picks up with Laura when she is 15 years old as she starts teaching for the first time and travels away from home. The center of the book is really the courtship between herself and her future husband, Almanzo Wilder. Like many other books in the series, it's a fascinating look at life as a pioneer out west -- it's particularly interesting to see how the country around the Ingalls family grows as well.
quaintlittlehead on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book sees a 15-year-old Laura gaining more responsibility as a schoolteacher and preparing for her adult life. Her perspective is so fresh and innocent as she mixes the burdens and fears of growing up with her natural inclination to want to be a girl, have fun, and see mean old Nellie Oleson get her comeuppance. The love story between Laura and Almanzo in this book is simply beautiful; it is a tale of romance blossoming from mutual companionship and respect, not from superficial appearances and physical lust. This is a particularly moving story to read if you are at a time of new beginnings in life, such as after a graduation or before a wedding. Laura speaks honestly of the childish hopes and fears hidden inside the grown-ups we all are forced to become, in a way that illustrates magnificently how little the human condition has changed in spite of all else.
gillis.sarah on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I like the relationship between Laura and Almanzo. It's very sweet and old-fashioned.
selfcallednowhere on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Well, the unfinished business of my childhood is finally complete after finishing up this series. I thought it might be less interesting now that Laura was so much older, but it really wasn't. Her courtship with Almanzo is very sweet, and I was impressed by wanting to take the "obey" out of the marriage vows even way back then! It was a little hard for me to read about how sad Laura is leaving home when I'm about to do the same thing myself. And I'm sad to not have anymore of these to read! But I'm buying some stuff from the various spinoff series.
wordygirl39 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've always loved this book. It's the end of the series as Laura imagined it, culminating with her marriage to Almanzo. All the hard things that happened after are left out and the readers feel a definite circular tie up--the story opened with Charles and Caroline beginning their life together and ends twenty years later with Laura and Almanzo beginning theirs together. Sweet.
Hamburgerclan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Well, here we are in China and all my books and the Seattle Public Library are back home. I had planned to read a number of my daughter's school books--the Sonlight curriculum is literature intensive--but of the two boxes of school materials we had sent out, only one has arrived. Oh, well at least that one contained some of the "Little House" books. This one the girls left sitting on the table and I happened to pick it up and then had to read it through. It's the second to the last of the series, the one where Laura is fifteen, is finishing school and is catching the attention of the young men in town. Like the rest, this book is well written with likable characters and vivid settings--check it out. Mrs. Wilder's books are truly an American treasure.--J.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really love the books so fasinating
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love all Laura Ingalls books!! Icould read the last 4 books over and over!!!!! Just AMAZING!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such a "love"ly book... great for guys!!!! Total JK. But, no total JK
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