In this revealing exploration of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s deep connection with the natural world, Marta McDowell follows the wagon trail of the beloved Little House series. You’ll learn details about Wilder’s life and inspirations, pinpoint the Ingalls and Wilder homestead claims on authentic archival maps, and learn to grow the plants and vegetables featured in the series. Excerpts from Wilder’s books, letters, and diaries bring to light her profound appreciation for the landscapes at the heart of her world. Featuring the beloved illustrations by Helen Sewell and Garth Williams, plus hundreds of historic and contemporary photographs, The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder is a treasure that honors Laura’s wild and beautiful life.
About the Author
Marta McDowell lives, gardens, and writes in Chatham, New Jersey. She consults for public gardens and private clients, writes and lectures on gardening topics, and teaches landscape history and horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden, where she studied landscape design. Her particular interest is in authors and their gardens, the connection between the pen and the trowel.
“This well-researched, sweeping book details the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder and those who came before her. It is clear that the different landscapes shaped them, particularly Laura and ‘Pa.’ The original are of Garth Williams and Helen Sewell deepens the poignancy and power of Laura’s prairie, since today only one percent of it survives. Laura’s work has preserved it for us. This book preserves it for us.” —Patricia MacLachlan, author of Sarah, Plain and Tall, winner of the Newbery Medal
“Lavishly illustrated with photographs, drawings, maps, and, notably, a selection of Helen Sewell and Garth Williams’ illustrations from the Little House books. . . . the book is a feast of opportunity for dedicated Wilder fans and enthusiastic gardeners everywhere.” —Booklist
“McDowell commemorates the 150th birthday of Laura Ingalls Wilder with a captivating look at the beloved Little House on the Prairie author’s relationship with nature. . . . McDowell’s warm descriptions of the author, her times, and the plants she loved provide a wonderful companion to Wilder’s books, while instructions on growing a Little House–inspired garden add an interactive component. Gardeners, botanists, and fans of Wilder will love this book.” —Publishers Weekly
“Readers who fondly remember Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books will delight in this biography. . . . A well-researched, beautifully illustrated title that entwines the natural world depicted in Wilder’s books with her life as a settler, farmer, and writer.” —Library Journal
“[With] historical maps, photographs, botanical drawings, original illustrations by Helen Sewell and Garth Williams, and the ample descriptions of scenery in the series. . . Marta McDowell provides a snapshot of the gardens, plants and land that influenced Laura Ingalls Wilder's frontier life in the Little House books.” —Shelf Awareness
“A narrative that is accessible to advanced younger and seasoned readers alike. . . this work is a lovely gift for anyone who loves or has loved the Little House books.” —NYBG’s Plant Talk
“After reading the descriptions of ground cherries and green-pumpkin pie, you may be inspired to grow a pioneer garden in the 21st century.” —Country Gardens
“Marta McDowell’s charmingly enthusiastic glossary of the plants so integral to settler survival is just the kind of folksy vade mecum that book-loving Laura and her family would have relished.” —Country Life
“Like the ‘Little House’ books themselves, [this is] a story of a slice of garden history, and an evolving American landscape of the imprint the pioneers had on it, and it had on them too. A tale of their intimate connection with the natural world, and of what McDowell calls Laura’s wild and beautiful life.” —A Way to Garden
“A lively, detailed look at Wilder's plant, farm and garden interests in the many places she lived.” —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“It's a beautifully produced book on quality paper. Marvelous illustrations, maps and photographs, illuminate McDowell's well-researched, engaging text. There are plenty of detailed descriptions of the plants and landscapes Wilder loved.” —New Jersey Herald
“Readers have cause for real celebration. The book provides both beauty and substance. . . a treasure.”—South Dakota Historical Society Press
“Wilder buffs and nature enthusiasts will revel in the details McDowell reveals.”—Green Bay Press Gazette