Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote all of her famous "Little House" books after age 60, when she was settled in Mansfield, Missouri.
Although Wilder was born 150 years ago, she is forever being reevaluated: Did she write her novels or did her daughter, Rose? Why was she a critic of the New Deal? Was her father a capable farmer like TV's Michael Landon, or was he more of a failure?
The best biography of Wilder won a Pulitzer Prize last year and its author will be talking about her subject at three free events this week.
Caroline Fraser, author of "Prairie Fires," is participating in a series of events connected with the Jefferson County Library and Jefferson College Library.
The first talk is at 6:30 p.m. tonight (Wednesday) at Northwest High School in Cedar Hill.
The second talk is at 2 p.m. Thursday at Jefferson College Library in Hillsboro.
And the third event is 6:30 Thursday at the Fox Service Center in Arnold (this reporter will interview Fraser).
"Prairie Fires" is a fascinating book, almost as much a history of the Homestead Act and Midwest frontier as it is a fair and intelligent biography of Wilder.
This newspaper's review of the book by Gail Pennington, said:
"Fraser details the series of disasters, some economic and even more meteorological, that led hardscrabble but ever-hopeful farmers like Charles to give up and continually move along, always chasing better opportunities.
"Hopes are repeatedly dashed. In Minnesota, near Plum Creek, Charles spends freely to build a nice house and is raising 'a bumper crop of wheat' when (no kidding) a plague of locusts descends, devouring everything. Droughts, fires, blizzards and disease upend the family over and over.
"At this point in 'Prairie Fires,' we may be wondering how Laura even lived through all this, let alone survived to become one of America’s most-beloved authors."
I'm looking forward to hear Fraser explain. For details of events, go to libguides.jeffco.edu/jcmoprairie.
Editor's note: An earlier version of is this post placed Plum Creek in the wrong state. It is in Minnesota.