This may be, for us, the summer of Little House on the Prairie. My parents read the books to me and my sister when we were little and I have longed to share them with Mr. Pants. He's old enough, now, and the crumbling paperbacks turned up last week in the great garage clean out.
If you haven't read them, or not in a while, they are such a treat! Mr. Pants has been enthralled (and only once too scared to be happy).
Last night he was going on an on about how he was going to build a big city and not let anyone cut down any trees to build it (at first he wanted to cut down all the trees to make sure there were no animals — which is where I realized the Little House influence on his thinking — but he quickly changed his mind when I pointed out that we need trees to breathe) and how was he going to find land to build it on? and it was going to be an amazing city with all kinds of things that people have never seen before and it's going to keep people safe from animals (despite the trees) because he's going to have a gun and do all guns have triggers that you pull to shoot them? And they have to have gun powder? And anyone that wants to can live in his amazing city (because he thought that was how all cities worked, anyone who wants to can live in them) with all the amazing stuff that no one has ever seen before (things like a tube with wings that flies AND goes underwater and also a time machine and the rest of the amazing things he can't tell you because they're a secret)...
Beyond the comforting values of family and hard work and adventure (yes, tempered by the steam-rolling of the environment and native peoples, but I'm trying not to stress that too bah-humbugishly), what I am most excited by is giving Mr. Pants a great story of a great family that moves every few years, setting off into the unknown with hope and fortitude.
I had forgotten how beautifully spare and personal the writing is. The first book, Little House in the Big Woods, ends as the girls are falling asleep to the sound of the fiddle and Pa singing Auld Lang Syne. Laura asks what the words mean and Pa explains it is about time long ago.
"She thought to herself, 'This is now.'
"She was glad that the cosy house, and Pa and Ma and the firelight and the music, were now. They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago."
— Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House in the Big Woods