Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Series: #3 in the Little House series (or number 2 depending on which list you look at)
Publication Date: originally 1933, this edition 1961
The Short Version:
A year in the childhood of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s future husband Almanzo Wilder.
Why I Read It:
Even though this book isn’t technically a part of the Little House Readalong, there was no way I was going to reread the series without reading this one too.
Laura Ingalls Wilder tells the story of a year in the childhood of her future husband. In 1866 in upstate New York, nine-year old Almanzo Wilder is at the age where he’s not quite a little kid but also not old enough to do many of the things he’d like.
He helps with the family farm as well as the livestock. As the year goes by he occasionally goes to school when not helping at home, learns to care for a young pair of oxen, and helps with the planting and harvest. As the seasons change Almanzo experiences the routine of life including the hard work and fun times.
I am not going to worry about spoilers with this series.
I’m just going to post a few random thoughts that ran through my head as I read this
I always liked this book. It was good to get a glimpse of Almanzo’s childhood in comparison to Laura’s. Clearly the Wilder family was better off than the Ingalls family. I’m not sure Pa Ingalls ever had to worry about having a large amount of cash in the house until he could get it to the bank the next morning.
Re-reading these as an adult from a different perspective and time I can see that a child reading these today would definitely benefit from opportunities to discuss them. While they may portray things that were normal at the time and place they occurred, those times are very different from what is considered appropriate in today’s world.
This was quite clear to me in the early parts of this book. When the older students are known to have beaten the previous schoolteacher so badly that he later died is rather jarring to read today. When Almanzo’s father loans the schoolteacher his bullwhip to deal with the these bullies it’s certainly something I hope that today’s kids have the opportunity to talk about as they read this book.
What the heck is an “air castle”?
And over the center-table hung an air-castle. Alice had made it of clean yellow wheat-straws, set together airily, with bits of bright colored cloth at the corners. It swayed and quivered in the slightest breath of air, and the lamplight ran gleaming along the golden straws.
Some things never change.
Mothers always fuss about the way you eat. You can hardly eat anyway that pleases them.
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