Cassandra Cooper Writes Another Book

I want to thank Pauly Tee who posted this The Friend Zone interview of Melissa Francis, anchor of MONEY with Melissa Francis and Markets Now on the Fox Business Network. Francis also played Cassandra Cooper on Little House on the Prairie (NBC TV show) for two seasons. She later attended Harvard before moving into business news.

Cassandra is a Character

Cassandra Cooper was one of two orphan siblings that the characters Charles and Caroline Ingalls adopt on the television show. Landon pushed the characters of Laura and Mary to become grown married women early and that took out storyline options for the Ingalls as a nuclear family. They had earlier successfully brought in Albert when they decided they needed a boy. For some reason, neither Carrie nor Grace were effectively used as older children so to keep feeding the Ingalls nucelar family storylines they needed more children. The writers invented a kind of horrible covered wagon crash and the Ingalls adopted the surviving children. Cassandra’s brother Jason Cooper was played by Jason Bateman who has gone on to have a stellar career as an actor. When Michael Landon decided he wanted to do more work on the production side of things as he was expanding shows, he moved the Charles and Caroline Ingalls family out of Walnut Grove and they took Carrie, Grace, Albert, James, and Cassandra with them and for the most part off the show. That allowed him to not be on camera as much himself. The Cooper siblings are mostly remembered for the episode where Charles goes a little nuts and builds a shrine to try to cure James which eventually works.

It’s in the Books

Back in 2012, Francis wrote a memoir of her time on the show called Diary of a Stage Mother’s Daughter. 

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During April 2017, her new book is coming out. Francis: “A lot of the great values I learned on ‘the prairie’ really applied to the rest of your life….like self-reliance, independence, and hard work.” According to Francis, Landon hired hard workers, but also taught them the same professional values you saw on the show. Her new book is a self-help book based on those ‘prairie’ principles where she laughs at herself, check out Lessons from the Prairie. 

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on  FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Melissa Wiley

Were you there at the Boston Commons?

Sarah's Notebook

I always love stories about Laura events even those I didn’t get to go to.

A recent find in the Lexis-Nexis database is an article in the Boston Globe from May 26, 1999.  It spells out what happened on “Little House By Boston Bay Appreciation Day” on Boston Commons.

It also has an interesting description of “Little House” spin-off book author Melissa Wiley. “In a gingham dress and sunbonnet, with braids hanging down her back, she began each morning hauling pails of water a half mile down a dusty path from the museum office to the little sod house where she gave talks for school groups. She churned butter, gathered buffalo chips for the fire and baked bread in an iron cookstove.”

Isn’t that a great description? Were you there?

UPDATED March 24 2017: I added my signature block, added a couple of sentences, and italicized the quote.

Sarah S…

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This American Life Radio Show

Revisiting DeSmet in 1999.

Sarah's Notebook

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While searching for an image a few weeks ago, I accidentally pulled up the archive of This American Life out of WBEZ Chicago and their description of their August 20, 1999 episode (#137). The show has a theme each week and then presents four profile-type news stories that relate to the theme. The theme for this particular episode was “The Book That Changed Your Life.” In Act 4 “Little Sod Houses for You and Me,” Writer Meghan Daum goes to De Smet, South Dakota and finds it to be remarkably similar to what Meghan had pictured before she went: the people seem like they are genuinely trying to hold on to the values Laura Ingalls Wilder writes about in her books. (15 minutes)

This time capsule from 1999 features interviews with Tim and Joan Sullivan and Marian Cramer among others. While some things have changed, (in 1999 the pageant was still…

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Travel Times Part 2 Disney Books

Before you check out my Disney Books podcast, check out what my friend Disney lover Richard Simms recommends for Travel Times podcast listeners and the first podcast of looking ahead (there is some strange audio at the beginning on this one, but I think it’s still OK) to my Disney trip.

Note that this was recorded well before I did the post so I put the current editions of these books in the descriptions below.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/trundlebedtales/2015/10/10/travel-times-disney-world-part-2-books

Walt Disney World
WDW 2017

Disney in December, BABY!

Also my opinion, I read these through except things I knew for sure like cruises or Universal

Website Subscriptions

The main trust of today’s podcast is books, but there are lots of websites. While there are a lot of free websites out there others require subscriptions for access or full access. I would recommend subscribing to all of these.

Touring Plans – It gives you information about rides, menus, and optimized touring plans that you can readjust “optimize” at any time as life might interfer with your premade plans. Purchasing the Touring Plans book listed before gives you a discount on the website subscription.

Kenny the Pirate – Just the best information on character appearances that is always up to date.

UPDATE  WDW  Prep School still has its amazing podcast and a free website, but since I recorded this I also have a subscription section. I haven’t subscribed yet, but since everything else they do is top notch and my favorite, I’m sure this will be too.

Books

Birnhaum Guides. Birnbaum’s 2017 Walt Disney World: The Official Guide. Disney Editions, 2016. ISBN 1484737776

Birnbaum’s the Official guide **** MUST BUY ****

Coupons mostly if staying off grounds or have a lot of out of park time

It gives the party line, things Disney expect you to know about

Compact for easier carrying than others

Meal section most useful especially character meal chart

Also special tours section

You want most current, comes out towards end of September so frozen in August of previous year (so this year’s 2017 book was frozen in August 2016). For trips after September hold out for the next year’s or get both.

Marx, Jennifer, Dave Marx, and Alexander Marx. PassPorter’s Walt Disney World: The Unique Travel Guide, Planner, Organizer, Journal, and Keepsake. 19th ed. Ann Arbor, Michigan: PassPorter Travel Press, 2016. ISBN 158771163X ****MUST BUY****

One of two I would consider a must by, skip the section about accommodations if you’ve made yours already and dive into the stuff about the parks. Although it doesn’t start quite as basic as I’d like to see it for someone who knows nothing about the parks, it gives a lot more basic information than any of the other guide books I read. It has just beautiful maps by far the clearest and most useful I’ve seen in any book. The name labels are on the buildings so you don’t have to flip between a numbered list and the map to figure out what is what.I also liked the routes and walk times that were included to give you a good idea for routes. The descriptions were fairly straight forward and what opinion there was was given in one voice so you could decide if you agreed with it or not. Another nifty feature is that they highlight changes made from the previous edition so you can see what’s changed right away.

Downsides include its format (a plastic spiral that constantly was twisting out, an especially poor choice for a book they encouraged you to carry around and to rearrange and take pages out of it – a binder format would have been a far better choice), the fact that it really didn’t have many charts and what charts they did have were very detailed so there wasn’t much in the way of quick summaries, and that towards the end of the book they were kind of heavy on advising buying other titles from them both in paper and as e-books. Also be aware that the last quarter of the book is taken up by hard cardboard pockets (one for each day of your trip) that they encourage you to use while touring.

Be aware the new edition comes out in December so late in the year information may be out of date towards the end of the calendar year. I caught several things that I knew weren’t true anymore just from my other research.

Sehlinger, Bob and Len Testa. The Unofficial Guide Walt Disney World 2017. Birmingham, AL: Keen Communications, 2015. ISBN 1628090669

My friend Kelly really loves this resource and it has a lot of information, but it’s not one of my favorites. Personally when I read a how to book from an expert I want their opinion and the constant second guessing and quotes of opposite opinions from various readers get on my nerves. But if you want a well rounded set of opinions on absolutely everything, this is the book for you.

One of the positive things is that it rates attractions with advice on different age levels. They give advice and tips how to do it. There are lots of useful single color maps of things like resorts and highway approaches in addition to main park maps and charts and still more that are black and blue. At 848 pages it’s by far the largest and most comprehensive of the books I got. However, there are large sections on Disney Cruises and Universal Parks which explains some of the extra length.

***** I’d say this is a maybe buy. If you want lots of details and a lot of extra opinions, plus detail maps, lists and suggestions for various ages, you’ll want to buy the book. If you want a single voice that you can figure out if you agree with or not, this probably isn’t the book for you. In addition this same group of people put out a subscription website called Touring Plans. The website was a lot more useful to me than the book. If you can only do the book OR the website, do the website in my opinion.

Birnhaum Guides. Birnbaum’s 2017 Walt Disney World For Kids: The Official Guide. Disney Editions, 2016. ISBN 1484737784

*****Buy if have kids the age to read on their own (at least Magic Treehouse series level)

Note that it’s NOT WITH kids, FOR kids. They expect kids to be the ones reading this one.

Colorful, easy to read

Written in narrative format

Rating system scary, dark,or loud

Activities to do

Includes kids in planning

Must say was disappointed in how much our kids like it but I think others would

Touring plans book — Optional

First chapter apologizing for format

Information Disney wouldn’t tell you

System of opinions based on age

Maps not overly clear

Wilk, Roger. Discover the Magic: The Ultimate Insider’s Guide to Walt Disney World. 2nd ed. n.p.: n.p., 2015. ISBN 9781505687491 **** Don’t Buy ****

I admit I was on a bit of a Disney book buying binge and I bought this strictly based on its cover. Seriously this is the second most pick me up and buy me cover that I’ve ever seen. If he didn’t design it himself, I want to hire whoever did it for any book I write. Sadly the cover is the best part of the book. The inside clearly says self-published. There are good self-published books, but most of them are crying out for want of an editor and this is no exception.

Apparently Wilk defines insider as someone who has been to Disney on several trips since 2008 as a normal tourist and in those last seven years apparently spent a lot of time in the parks. However, he didn’t learn a lot because you could get absolutely everything else in this book from other guide books. The only exception are his personal opinions which certainly aren’t worth buying the book for. The opening of the book starts with him getting kind of irate at the fact that people posted negative comments on Amazon (which I totally should have read) and seemed especially focused on the fact that people complained that his photos weren’t in color. He seemed to think people didn’t understand that color photos cost more in a book. Frankly to me the photos even in black and white were one of the few pluses in the book because I do have to give him credit that he illustrated more things he was talking about with photos than the other Disney books I’ve read. However, they were nothing special and you could find just as good or better images doing a quick image search.

Note that the edition I got was the second. It seems that according to the interior text it was greatly expanded from the 1st edition which must have just been a pamphlet or something. Also, Wilk has the nerve to have published 3 more books about Disney when he didn’t really have enough to say to fill this one.

*****If it is the only Disney book available to you, it covers the bare essentials of information well enough, but a strong do NOT buy.

Final – Disappointment have to still have your physical Disney credit card to get discount, kids glad to go

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+,  LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Birthdays

Sharing a list of birthdays again.

Sarah's Notebook

Mary Pa At a recent program I was asked about birthdays of the Ingalls and Wilder Families. Here’s a list in chronological order below.

1813 – James Mason Wilder [Father Wilder] born near Milton, Vermont [January 26].

1821 – Angeline Day [Mother Wilder] born in Chateaugay, New York.

1836 – Charles Ingalls [Pa] born in Cuba, New York [Jan.11].

1839 – Caroline Quiner [Ma] born in Brookfield, Wisconsin [Dec. 12].

1844 – Laura Wilder born [June 15].

1847 – Royal Wilder born [February 20].

1850 –  Eliza Jane Wilder is born [January 1].

1853 – Alice Wilder born [September 3].

1857 – Almanzo James Wilder born in New York [Feb. 13].

1865 – Mary Amelia Ingalls born at Pepin, Wisconsin [Jan. 10].

1867 – Laura Elizabeth Ingalls born in Pepin, Wisconsin [Feb. 7]. Laura Birthday

 1869 – The final child of the James Wilder Family, Perley Day Wilder was born after Farmer Boy was…

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Mentions February 2017

This month’s mentions of me and Trundlebed Tales that appeared in the news during February 2017. The first article quotes me in an article about Laura’s birthday and the second is one I wrote for the college paper.

Sauer, Rachel. “Back to the prairie: ‘Little House’ books offer unique window to past that fans adore.” Daily Sentinel [Grand Junction, Colorado]. 4 February 2017.
http://www.gjsentinel.com/lifestyle/articles/little-house-books-offer-unique-window-to-past-tha. Accessed 11 March 2017.

Uthoff, Sarah. “Popular book section promotes reading for pleasure.” Kirkwood College Communique [Cedar Rapids, Iowa]. 8 February 2017. http://www.kirkwoodstudentmedia.com/news/view.php/1027137/Popular-book-section-promotes-reading-fo Accessed 11 March 2017.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on  FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Arthur C. Clarke Dead at Age 90

Looking back to when we lost Arthur C. Clarke.

Sarah's Notebook

Arthur C. Clarke was a futurist and science fiction writer extraordinaire. Many of the future scientific developments he predicted came true. Read more about his accomplishments at this link:

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/2008-03-18-arthur-clarke-obit_N.htm

However, I’ll remember him most for one of the best for the Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World TV show. Normally these types of shows have a fairly kumbaya feeling. He dug deep and found cases for what he was exploring that couldn’t easily be explained while doing his best to debunk them. The episode about ghosts was particularly good. None of this I felt a presence and was at peace stuff for him. Who can forget the classic line, “I forgot all about my little boy and ran down the stairs and wouldn’t go back for him until my neighbor went with me.” Now that sounds like someone who’s seen a ghost. 😉

So long Arthur C. Clarke and thanks!

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