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Currently reading

MirrorMask (children's edition)
Neil Gaiman
The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories, Volume One: Where on Earth
Ursula K. Le Guin
Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown
Maud Hart Lovelace
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Oscar Wilde, Camille Cauti
Riders of the Purple Sage
Zane Grey
Vampires, Zombies, & Wanton Souls
Marge Simon
Little House in the Big Woods  - Laura Ingalls Wilder, Garth Williams I could be remembering incorrectly, but I believe the Little House books were my first longer reads as a child. I absolutely loved them. And our toddler Sigourney seemed to love Little House in the Big Woods, too. She kept wanting me to turn back to the picture of Laura, Mary and Pa playing Mad Dog. (I remember that picture almost 40 years later!) The picture of the bear with the pig was also a favorite of Sigourney's.

Little House in the Big Woods is an extremely cozy read. Try not yearning to spend a little time in their early-winter house packed with food, corn cob dolls, patchwork quilts, fiddle music, a warm hearth, cat and dog. Reading Wilder's work will help you understand the feel Cracker Barrel restaurants are going for. The coziness does have an edge, however. If you're reading along with little ones, expect to have to explain why Pa shoots nonhuman animals or chases them with clubs. Also, if you're a time-out giving parent like I am, Pa's whipping Laura for fighting with her sister Mary might make you wince. But that severe discipline is only a minute part of what on the whole is a very positive loving relationship between Pa, Ma and the kids.

Living in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, we're now firmly entrenched in Laura Ingalls Wilder country. It's fun reading these stories within blocks of Laura Ingalls Wilder Elementary School. And I'm still amazed that LIW is the mother of Rose Wilder Lane, who along with Ayn Rand and others is a "founding mother" of libertarianism. Quite a family tree!