Laura Ingalls Wilder had a front row seat on history as a pioneer girl in the latter part of the 1800s. Generations of children have benefitted from her life story through her Little House books. Laura Ingalls Wilder's life is a fascinating subject, and Wilder historian William Anderson does it justice in his books about the popular author. The books are all well written and interesting. They vary a good deal in design and content, however.
Pioneer Girl: The Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder is a picture book biography by historian William Anderson, with striking illustrations by artist Dan Andreasen. The book was honored as a 1999 Notable Children's Trade Book in Social Studies. It is designed for ages 7 and up. Pioneer Girl provides an overview of Laura's life, rather than providing a great many details. However, it is very effective in showing how this pioneer girl grew up and as an adult in her 60s, became a popular children's author with her Little House books. (HarperCollins, 2000. ISBN: 9780064462341)
Laura's Album is a charming book. Laura Ingalls Wilder enjoyed saving momentos of her life, including cards, letters, and photographs. William Anderson used some of these artifacts, now in the collections of several museums, archives, and libraries, to create a decade by decade album of Laura's life. The photographs, sketches, family records, and other momentos are fascinating. Children will enjoy comparing the fashions and activities illustrated with those of today. (HarperCollins, 1998. ISBN: 9780060278427)
William Anderson's Laura Ingalls Wilder is designed for the 8- to 12-year-old who is eager to read all about Laura's life. The 232-page long book includes ten family photographs. This book will be especially appealing to the reader of the "Little House" books who is eager for details about the time periods not covered in those books. Anderson does a good job of filling in the gaps in this book. In the Foreword, he sets the context for the reader by giving an overview of the 1860s. (HarperCollins, ISBN: 9780060885526)