Who Was Laura Ingalls Wilder First Book Now TV Show

In the 1950s and 1960s there were several fun biography series for kids. My favorite was the Landmark Series. These have long been out of print, but today there are two joint series, Who Is…? and Who Was…? with a similar purpose at a lower reading level. The former series being about living people and the latter about those who have passed on. 

Lately my nephew has been tearing through them with his favorites being Who Was Thomas Edison?, Who Was Henry Ford?, and Who Was Mark Twain?. There was one that attracted my attention of course:

Demuth, Patricia Brennan. Who Was Laura Ingalls Wilder?. Penguin, 2013.

Who Was Who Books

The series have expanded to also include Where Is….? and What is…..?. There are more than 200 books in the collection. The covers with big head bobblehead looking versions of the people they are about are designed to look like the former style of covers of the New York Times Book Reviews.  Learn more: http://www.whowasbookseries.com

TV Series

So having an interest and having bought several titles from the series, I was rather delighted to read in Publisher’s Weekly that they were going to create a TV show based on the series. I was especially pleased that they were starting with the pilot short featuring a six-minute show in which Laura Ingalls Wilder meets Andy Warhol.

The show was picked up by Netflix. They describe it as: “Fresh voices bring some of the most famous names in history to life. A live-action sketch comedy show based on the series of best-selling books.” (Looking through their list of shows I discovered that Netflix originals have some super strange stuff that I never even heard off, some of it based on children’s books, AND Benji – I love Benji.)

So far the show has 13 episodes in Season one. If you subscribe to Netflix or just want to learn more about the individual episodes:
https://www.netflix.com/title/80184379

Find more production details:
https://usa.newonnetflix.info/info/80184379/s

Series Description

So far they haven’t done a full episode on Laura Ingalls Wilder yet. I haven’t seen a full episode, but based on the trailer and some descriptions it reminds me of KIDS Incorporated (♪♫♪ Kids Incorporated – K- I – D -S ♫♪♫) with a sole focus on history and a much bigger budget. I hope they get back around to Laura soon and that I get a chance to see it.

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting 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. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on Facebook , Twitter , Google+LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

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Truman Home Study Book List

There is just something so intoxicating about seeing a collection of books in someone’s home. You just feel compelled to go over and see what books they have. That’s even more true when you visit a famous person’s house museum. Usually you aren’t allowed to sit down and gordge yourself on seeing what titles they had and what that might tell you about what they knew and what they thought. Normally they are safely kept behind velvet ropes.

Harry S. Truman Rocks!

So in addition to all the other cool things the Harry S. Truman National Historic Site does, (I always point them out as my favorite example on Facebook – always clever, always with an eye on their goal of making you want to visit) it shares out a list of Harry’s books. Not only a complete list, but a list you can get organized either by author or by title.

https://www.nps.gov/hstr/learn/historyculture/truman-home-study-book-list.htm

Just going through the As I see he must have liked Eight Cousins over Little Women (totally agree) and that he must have been an Albert Campion (Margery Allingham’s famed detective) fan. I think I would have enjoyed talking to Harry.

I don’t know why this isn’t done everywhere as a matter of course, but I’m so glad that they know how to do things in Independence!

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting 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. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on Facebook , Twitter , Google+LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Movie: Muppet Christmas Carol the best version of A Christmas Carol

I love The Muppet Christmas Carol. I bet I’ve seen between TV, movies, and plays at least 50 various versions of A Christmas Carol. I knew the story. I wasn’t impressed. Then I went to see this version in the movie theater. Of all the versions from both movies or TV shows, this is the one that made me want to read the book. It should make you read it, too. It really is my favorite of Dickens’ works — which after I loved this one so much I read all of his others. *

Michael Caine’s performance as Scrooge is amazing of course, but the true thing that sets this version apart is that it includes the narrator. Charles Dickens always gives himself all the best lines so when you pull out the narrator (which most movies do) you lose all of them or you really mess with Scrooge’s character to give them to him.

  • “Darkness was cheap and Scrooge liked it.”
  • “I would think a coffin nail would be the deadest piece of iron mongery.”
  • “And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!’’

On top of that there is some just amazing music, especially “The Love is Gone” which remarkably is not included in most of the DVD releases because it’s thought of as too complicated and too sad for children. This is utterly ridiculous. Cutting “The Love is Gone” destroys the overall arch of the movie. Sign the petition to put it in the next DVD release or contact Disney and let them know this is a problem.

 

So this is the time of year to go and watch the BEST version of A Christmas Carol.

How well do you remember the Muppet Christmas Carol Quiz (I got 100%):
http://blogs.disney.com/oh-my-disney/2015/12/21/quiz-how-well-do-you-remember-the-muppet-christmas-carol/?cmp=smc

Review which will make you cry all on its own:
“Beyond Caine’s performance, the very fact that Scrooge even knows the words at all is heartbreaking. At this point his younger self had supposedly left, but now we realize he heard everything — and forgot nothing. He knows the words. This is a moment he has replayed in his mind, over and over again. Suddenly his pleading the Spirit not to show him this Christmas becomes clearer: Not this, please. I know, I already know.”
http://bookriot.com/2015/12/21/anatomy-of-a-scene-the-love-is-gone-the-muppet-christmas-carol

Another Review:
http://www.headstuff.org/2015/12/literature-on-film-part-3leave-comedy-to-the-bears-ebenezer-a-tribute-to-the-muppet-christmas-carol/

How We Made the Muppet Christmas Carol by Brian Henson:
http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2015/dec/21/how-we-made-the-muppet-christmas-carol?CMP=fb_gu

Longer Version of Brian Henson Interview:
http://uproxx.com/movies/brian-henson-interview

14 Things You Don’t Know about Muppet Christmas Carol:
http://www.buzzfeed.com/katieheaney/14-things-you-didnt-know-about-the-muppet-christmas-carol#.lyqBdEbOV

Love is Gone Deleted:
http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Why-Muppet-Christmas-Carol-Deleted-Song-Was-Cut-Really-Should-Have-Stayed-68641.html

PhD compares Scrooges, Decides Caine’s is the best:
http://blogs.tandf.co.uk/jvc/2012/12/24/a-blue-furry-charles-dickens-who-hangs-out-with-a-rat-a-muppets-chritsmas-carol https://www.newstatesman.com/culture/books/2015/12/christmas-carol-contest-who-was-best-scrooge-screen

*NOTE: The other book of his I really loved was Hard Times. Dickens reads best when he’s the narrator. I don’t really care for the ones where he isn’t.

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.

Annual Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas Shopping Guide 2017

Whether you are looking for the perfect present for the Laura Ingalls Wilder fan in your life or just what you want to know what to put on your Christmas want list, check out these suggestions.

This is the seventh year I’ve put together a shopping guide. Check the first post for basic gift ideas. Read that first and use this post to look for new items, other ideas, and a list of which Laura homesites are offering Christmas mail order and the cut off dates for shipping by Christmas this year. Trundlebed Tales encourages you to do at least a little Christmas shopping from the Laura homesites because they are all local museums, highly dependent on admissions and gift shop revenue to stay open and preserve the homesites for Laura fans, so do your part.

If your favorite Laura fan is planning a trip to Walnut Grove this year, consider buying them pageant tickets. The tickets are available for 2018 already and the earlier you buy tickets the better seats you can get. They mail them so you can get the tickets to go under the tree. Buy them either online or by phone if you want their advice for which seat. The phone goes into a business so you can always find someone there during business hours. (Note: I don’t advise pre-buying for the other pageants because differences in how their systems work.)

De Smet 150th Anniversary T-Shirt 3
De Smet 150th Anniversary T-Shirt

Most of the presents that I suggested in 2011 2012 , 2013 , 2014 , 2015 , and 2016 are still available so take a look at previous shopping posts for more ideas.

And don’t forget you can also get your Laura fan gift memberships to the museums or a donation in your Laura fan’s name!

What’s Not Available

I’m going to take a minute first and tell you some things that you aren’t able to get because there was expectation you would be able to get them. For the past 3 years the homesites have worked together to create a calendar with photos from all the sites. Unfortunately when I checked with the De Smet Memorial Society who makes them up, they’ve given up on doing one for 2018, but look for the 2019 one sometime this spring.

Also, this fall I was shocked when I checked with all the homesites and discovered in the last year we’ve gone from 3 versions of the china shepherdess replicas available to 0. Hopefully, at least 1 version will be available sometime next year (a couple of the homesites have a new version in the works), but for now your only choice is keeping an eye out for one second hand.

150th Birthday Items

150th Magnet – Photo Courtesy of Mansfield

With this being the 150th anniversary of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s birth, check out some of the unique things offered for the anniversary. There are special limited edition t-shirts from both De Smet and Walnut Grove. (Walnut Grove had a double reason to celebrate with the 40th anniversary of their pageant.) De Smet also came out with an updated and expanded 60th anniversary edition of The Ingalls Family of De Smet. There is a special china ornament from De Smet featuring a bust of an older Laura wearing her red velvet dress. Mansfield has created a special limited edition magnet from Mansfield with a middle-aged Laura’s image and a 150th anniversary slogan.

40th Anniversary of Walnut Grove Pageant T-Shirt
40th Anniversary of Walnut Grove Pageant T-Shirt

HarperCollins

HarperCollins released a new edition of the first 3 books in the series. This edition is hardback, features matching covers, no illustrations, and an introductory essay by a famous person; Laura Bush, Little House in the Big Woods; Ree Drummond, Farmer Boy; and Patricia MacLachlan, Little House on the Prairie. I’m saving them to buy at one of my next homesite visits so I haven’t seen them myself, but the reviewer at Horn Book Magazine is pretty scathing about them urging people to buy the standard Garth Williams illustrated version instead.

Happily in honor of Laura’s birthday, HarperCollins released the audiobooks, as recorded by Cherry Jones, as digital downloads for the first time. Slowly throughout the year they’ve been re-releasing the simplified chapter books, such as The Adventures of Laura and Jack or the most appropriate Christmas Stories, with brand new covers. Six of the simplified picturebooks, illustrated by Renee Graef, are newly collected and published as one volume. It’s called a Little House Picture Book Treasury. Finally, they also put out The Little House Book of Wisdom, a collection of quotes from the series.

Quilt Discovery – Doves in the Window

One of the things I’m most excited about is Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Wedding Quilt by Linda Halpin. Halpin has braved the untamed jungle that is quilt pattern names and makes a strong case that this is the pattern Laura calls “Doves in the Window” thought to be the one Laura made for her Wedding Quilt. It includes instructions for making the quilt pattern pictured here. Linda Halpin is also the author of Quilting with Laura: Patterns Inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie Series. Check out her interviews on the Trundlebed Tales podcasts about Doves in the Window and on quilts in the 19th century in general. You can get the pattern directly from her website, from Burr Oak (who has the original square that kicked off her search), and possibly from other homesites – ask.

While we are talking about crafts The Little House Coloring Book, a publication that takes into account the surge in adult coloring has been a big hit. It’s based on Garth Williams illustrations at any of the giftshops. There is also a great coloring book based on illustrations by Cheryl Harness is available at most homesites. See some sample pages.

South Dakota Historical Society Press

You’ll remember that when the SDHSP released Pioneer Girl in November 2014 a frenzy broke out as underestimated demand meant that even pre-published purchased copies from Amazon were months late and it found a long term spot on the bestseller list. With such intense interest, it’s no wonder that they’re planning on following up with a three volume set of scholarship about Pioneer Girl. The first volume was released this last April, Pioneer Girl Perspectives. It is be available from either the South Dakota State Historical Society or any of the homesites.

In honor of Laura’s 150th birthday and the release of Pioneer Girl Perspectives the South Dakota Historical Society Press  held a conference in April. If you couldn’t go they have released a set of DVDs of the conference. I’m grateful that they did so we have a record of the sessions and I think that any serious scholar or anyone who wanted to go to the conference and didn’t get to will want a copy. However, be forewarned that the sound quality is bad. Basically they set up a camera and let it roll using the ambient sound in the room.

Some Homesite Highlights

Pepin didn’t report anything new, but my favorite thing is a green and white throw. It has images from the books including the Pepin replica cabin, Pa’s fiddle, and a bonnet. I won mine in the Laura Days essay contest, but you can buy and love one.

Little House on the Prairie Ornament – Photo courtesy of Little House on the Prairie Museum

If you haven’t checked out the Little House on the Prairie Museum online store yet, poke around. They have a wide variety of possible presents including tote bags, candles, and coffee. I haven’t gotten one yet, but they have a variety of styles of shirts with their logo including tanks which are hard to find in Laura shirts. The most Kansas thing is a poster that I NEED a copy of called “The Yellow Brick Road” with a covered wagon following a path of yellow flowers across the prairie. Besides Laura, Kansas also claims a connection with Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum (“Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore”) hence the yellow “brick” road. They have a set of china Christmas tree ornaments each with a colorized image from the Helen Sewell books, one per book.

I’ve heard Walnut Grove called the homesite with the best gift shop and it is a very nice facility with a bunch of options. Although the grounds close for the season, the gift shop/visitor center is open all year. They have more things available than shown on their website so if you are looking for something in particular or want something you don’t see on the website, call them and talk. Aprons, bonnets, and dresses continue to be popular and they have a great selection. They also have a lot of the Queen’s Treasures collection of dolls and accessories. To have a memory of Walnut Grove on your tree check out their wood ornament.

Besides the quilt pattern I mentioned above, Burr Oak has Laura t-shirts featuring the hotel in bright primary colors to make a splash in your Laura shirt. They are the place to get The Iowa Story: Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life in Burr Oak, Iowa by William T. Anderson. They also keep a stock of Old Town in the Green Groves by Cynthia Rylant which knowing Rylant’s other work should be much, much better than it is and takes a stab at fictionalizing the time missing out of the series when they lived in Burr Oak. (Spoiler: Pa suddenly starts calling Mary Pumpkin Pie — yep.)

The Memorial Society in De Smet has several new items this year. Besides the new edition of The Ingalls Family of De Smet and the t-shirt, I mentioned above, they have an exclusive cookie cutter shaped like the Surveyor’s House. In addition to the new china ornament with the older Laura in red velvet (which I just HAD to buy back in July), they have a complete set of the ornaments each one featuring a colorized Garth Williams’s illustrations from each book in the series. The older Laura one isn’t showing on their website, but give them a call.

Covered Wagon Ornament
Ornament Photo courtesy of The Ingalls Homestead

The Ingalls Homestead, who developed the idea of wood crates to create a box set for the hardcover books, also has a wide range of products and some great news about shipping. They have free shipping for all orders over $25 this year through December 13. They also have rolled out digital gift cards for the first time. Use them online or over the phone for onsite purchases. Associate the Homestead with the covered wagon rides? They have a beautiful ornament of a covered wagon. (Yep, I got one of these on this last trip too.) Remember how excited Laura was about her Santa Christmas presents she got from Mr. Edwards? At the Homestead you can order tin cups with two sticks of peppermint, the heart shaped cakes and even a penny! A unique gift is squares of Ingalls Homestead homemade soap. They also have a wide selection non-Laura books of prairie/pioneer related subjects.

Harvey Dunn, nephew by marriage of Grace Ingalls and internationally known artist and illustrator, is best known for his connection with Manchester, the next town west of De Smet. The South Dakota Art Museum houses the largest collection of Dunn’s work. (It’s well worth your effort to stop in Brookings on your way to or from De Smet.) They have just released a reprint of Where Your Heart Is: The Story of Harvey Dunn, Artist. This current edition is available exclusively from the South Dakota Art Museum store.

Spring Valley is a smaller site, but they work on having unique things in their giftshop. One area they have a big selection in is the American Girl aka 18 inch size doll clothes. They are locally made and not mass produced. Colors may vary.

Doll Clothes from Spring Valley

Besides the 150th magnet, Mansfield has several other cool magnets look at all of them. They have a couple of unique things that feature the Rocky Ridge farmhouse including a snow globe and a frame. They have also have boxed sets of the hardbacks in wooden boxes.

In Malone/Burke, New York, they’ve also redone their website. Check out the Mason Jar style mug with Almanzo’s name, their selection of mugs, and cachet hand painted envelopes. If your Laura fan doesn’t yet have the DVD documentary Almanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura. It was produced by Dean Butler (Almanzo on the TV show) and is either a great keepsake or a tour if you haven’t been to the farmstead. They also have a lovely print called “Coming Home” with the Wilder farmhouse and a sleigh. I have a copy.

 

I recommend contacting the sites by e-mail or online store instead of by phone, except where noted. Even places that have been easiest to contact by phone in the past I’ve had trouble calling, but most responded quickly by e-mail.

Independence KS

Little House on the Prairie Museum
Online Store

Last Day for Priority Mail – They didn’t give me a date, use your own judgment.

Walnut Grove MN

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum
Online Store
Phone 1-800-528-7280
Last Day for Priority Mail – December 18, 2017

De Smet SD

Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society
Online Store
Phone 1-800-880-3383
Last Day for Priority Mail – December 18, 2017

Ingalls Homestead
Online Store
Phone: 1-800-776-3594

Last Day for Priority – December 20, 2017

Loftus Store Online
Phone: 605-854-3773 Call to order

Last Day for Priority – Didn’t give a date use your own judgment

Mansfield MO

Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum
Online Store
Phone 1-877-924-7126 (Toll free)
Last Day for Priority – December 19, 2017

Malone NY

Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder Farm
Online Store
farm@almanzowilderfarm.com

Last Day for Priority – Didn’t give a date

Spring Valley MN

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum (Store not online)
wilderinspringvalley@hotmail.com
Recommends using e-mail to order for Christmas, but you may want to include your phone number in the e-mail so they can get back to you with questions quickly.
Last Day for Priority – Didn’t give a date

Burr Oak IA

Laura Ingalls Wilder Park and Museum
Online Store
Last Day for Priority – Didn’t give a date

The best way for people to shop during the winter is through the website gift shop and then pay through Paypal. You can email the museum with questions. They are no longer accepting checks for orders because of some bad check incidents.

Pepin WI

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum
Online Store
Best to order online, but can also reach by phone 715-513-6383, or by sending a letter. Neither museum nor gift shop is open during the winter.

Last Day for Priority – December 18, 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.

Mentions October 2017

Sarah at Reference Desk
Sarah at Reference Desk

This month I created both of this month’s mentions. The first one is the video I made as part of my campaign for Vice President Elect of the Iowa Library Association. I know you can’t vote, but I did a nice job on the video if I do say so myself (hard time limit of 3 minutes, no edits or effects).

The second is a blog post I did for the L.M. Montgomery Institute’s Anne of Green Gables Readalong. Check out all of the readalong chapters, they are doing a chapter a week through June. (The date on the blog post is when it was published unfortunately the date only shows if you click on blog and bring up the list of posts.)

Uthoff, Sarah. “Sarah Uthoff – VP/Pres-Elect.” YouTube, uploaded by Iowa Library

Association. 28 Sept. 2017, youtu.be/y271IvMjFR8

Uthoff, Sarah. “Anne of Green Gables Read-a-long: Chapter VII: Anne Says Her

Prayers.” L. M. Montgomery Institute. 31 October 2017.

https://www.lmmontgomery.ca/anne-green-gables-read-long-chapter-vii-anne-says-her-prayers Accessed 7 November 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.

Mentions March 2017

In the Kitchen With Laura at Mason City
In the Kitchen With Laura at Mason City

This month’s mentions of me and Trundlebed Tales that appeared in the news during March 2017. The first article talks about doing my In the Kitchen With Laura program in Marshalltown, Iowa and the second is advertising my program in Clarksville, Iowa on April 1st, 2017. The final article is based on some suggestions I made to a follow up for a story about Field of Dreams with some additional book suggestions.

Jordan-Heintz, Sarah. “Cooking on the Prairie: Laura Ingalls Wilder Topic of Presentation.” Times-Republican [Marshalltown, Iowa], 24 Mar. 2017, http://www.timesrepublican.com/news/todays-news/2017/03/cooking-on-the-prairie Accessed 29 Mar. 2017.

“Laura Ingalls Wilder Celebration Planned.” The Courier [Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Iowa], 26 Mar. 2017, http://wcfcourier.com/news/local/laura-ingalls-wilder-celebration-planned/article_a0db2b0a-2959-52f5-b847-31b043296af7.html Accessed 29 Mar. 2017.

“Field of Dreams.” Monday Morning Eye-Opener [State Library of Iowa]. 27 March 2017, p. 3.

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.

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. 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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.