Little Author in the Big Woods Giveaway

Little Author in the Big Woods by Yona Zeldis McDonough, illus. by Jennifer Thermes

Little Author in the Big Woods by Yona Zeldis McDonough, illus. by Jennifer Thermes

To celebrate a year of blogging I’m giving away the book Little Author in the Big Woods: A Biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Yona Zeldis McDonough and illustrated by Jennifer Thermes (2014, Christy Ottaviano Books, 156 pages).

This is a delightful biography aimed at early elementary-aged children. The illustrations and book design give it the familiar Little House feel.

To enter, comment and let me know if you’ve been to any of the Little House sites or museums. (I’ve been to DeSmet, S.D., and Mansfield, Mo.) I will randomly choose a winner (U.S. commenters only) and post the winner’s name on Feb. 24.


  1. Steve Arnold

    I feel like I’m cheating answering this, since one of the sites is two minutes from my house, and I’ve been there several times, but I have not to any of the others. The Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School in Vinton, Iowa was the home to Mary Ingalls for many years and Mary Ingalls is featured prominently in the school’s museum. The school was known at the time as the Iowa College for the Blind, and Mary Ingalls first enrolled in 1881, graduating in 1889. Our community theatre has begun staging an annual pageant at the school, depicting the student life of Mary Ingalls, in keeping with pageants held at many of the other Ingalls sites.

      • Steve Arnold

        July 31, August 1 and 2. I’m not involved with it as I’m directing our summer musical, but they’re already working on it. The intent is to perform outdoors in front of the 1852 building where Mary attended and lived. We were delayed two years in beginning the pageant because of a huge storm in 2011 that really did a number on the whole town, destroying the roof of the main Braille school building and causing serious damage to the top floor. (13 straight minutes of 100 mph winds.) Because of the reconstruction we weren’t able to produce the pageant on the campus for two years. We were finally given the go-ahead to do it in July, 2014, but then the construction still wasn’t done by the scheduled performances, so last year’s pageant was performed in the school’s small auditorium. However, it looks like this year it will be outdoors.

        • Deb Watley

          I’m sure they will be excited to finally get to perform outside! Talk about an exercise in patience–for the school and the pageant folks. Congrats on directing a summer musical! Which one are you doing? How did Into the Woods go? By the way, my high school sons just got parts in their spring play.

  2. Jane Heitman Healy

    Oh, how fun! I haven’t read this, if you can believe it! I have been to DeSmet MANY times, growing up near there. I have also been to Walnut Grove and Spring Valley, MN, and Pepin, WI.

    • Deb Watley

      Little Author in the Big Woods is new (fall 2014)! Were you ever in one of the DeSmet pageants? I keep hoping to get to Walnut Grove. It’s so close…

      • jheitman22

        NEW! And how did I not know? Not in a pageant, but attended a few. Yes, it would be fun to go to the pageant at Walnut Grove.

  3. Mary Scarbrough

    I’ve been to Spring Valley, Mansfield, and DeSmet (although I’m embarrassed to say not to the house — anyone up for a trip?). We took the kids to the DeSmet pageant when they were little and we still lived in Iowa. In 2013 one of my daughters was the director’s assistant (there was also an assistant director — different job) for the pageant and reluctantly played the part of Nellie when they didn’t have enough cast members. She did fine, although like her mother, the spotlight makes her nervous.

    • Deb Watley

      Did your daughter enjoy playing Nellie? That could be a fun role! I like the Surveyor’s House in DeSmet. It puts things into perspective for me that Laura thought it was big house. Of course, it was much bigger than most houses she had lived in.

  4. Pingback: Interview: Jennifer Thermes, Illustrator of The Little Author in the Big Woods: A Biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder | Deb Watley

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