Naomi’s house on the prairie

Pictures are a great form of narration for kids who are too young to write down their thoughts in print.

I was really proud of these drawings Naomi Rivka (5.5) did when we abandoned her at home this evening to go to the library (she wasn’t finished supper yet – don’t ask!).  They’re based on some of the sections we’re reading in On the Banks of Plum Creek, our current Little House chapter book.

Here is the Ingalls family’s little house – in this book, it’s a a sod house, built into a riverbank so you can’t even see it from a distance. I can tell it’s really captivated her imagination.  In the background, you can see the stable.  At the right of the page is the wagon, with the family’s dog, Jack, resting underneath (I love seeing how she picks up on a detail like this, and I really adore the bristly way she adds hairs to all her animals!):

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Laura and Mary on top of their house, with the wagon and stable on top, too:

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And this is the inside of the sod house, with the whole family at home.  Tons of accurate details here, like the glowing orange fireplace and the Princess-Leia buns on the sides of Ma’s head.

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The chapter we read today was a bit of a bummer because it was an exciting chapter but there was NO ILLUSTRATION!  So Naomi Rivka drew her own – I was very impressed to see how much she remembered.

Here, Ma and Pa head off to town with baby Carrie, leaving Laura and Mary alone, safe at home, or so they thought:

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But along come some cattle.  The cow-tending-person fell asleep and the cattle got loose, rampaging through all of Pa’s neatly arrange haystacks.  If the cattle ruin the haystacks, the Ingalls family’s animals won’t survive the winter!

Laura, age seven, runs out carrying a stick to fight off the animals, but can’t get them away from the haystacks until she comes up with a clever technique of running around one of the haystacks and finally, leading them away from the haystacks and saving the family’s livestock.

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Details I love in this picture:  The cattle in the book are described as spotted; Mary hesitates and doesn’t offer any help in fending off the cattle; Laura’s stick has cute little leaves on it; the sod house in the background.

This amazing series of illustrations has proven to me that she really is absorbing most of the details, even from what is occasionally a fairly dry (and picture-less) chapter book.


  1. Naomi's drawings totally rock!!! Love them!!! I think it's awesome that she is illustrating as you work your way through the book. Really, really cool!!!

  2. I'm so excited because it was totally unprompted. For anyone who feels that narration is artificial - it's just a formalization of the process that we all undergo, of "digesting" new information as we receive it, in our own special way. :-)

  3. It's so fun to look at her drawings and see what she sees in the story. What a unique way to go about narration, and so natural.


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