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Little House on Rocky Ridge (Little House
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MacBride, the sole heir of Laura Ingalls Wilder's daughter Rose Wilder Lane, delivers the first installment of his faithfully minded series sequel to the hallowed Little House books. As it opens, Laura, husband Almanzo and seven-year-old Rose embark on what will be a final migration, from South Dakota to Missouri. Pieced in part from Rose's written account of that trip, interviews with contemporaries and historians, and other research, the story centers on Rose's adventures and scrapes, and, like its models, pays tribute to the strength and security of a close family. But while pains have clearly been taken to ensure the book's authenticity and while the book is entertaining, it lacks the magic of the originals. MacBride simply does not have Laura Ingalls Wilder's understanding of girlhood, nor does he share her remarkable sense for the memorable detail. Although he endows Rose with her mother's quick mind and lively, determined nature, she is never as fully human as the fictional Laura. That Laura, here known as Bess (the name Almanzo used for her), becomes a distant figure, an industrious, Bible-loving wise woman who cares what the neighbors think of her housekeeping. MacBride and his publisher deserve complements for their integrity, however, and many young Little House fans will be grateful for their efforts. Ages 8-12. (July)

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