Farmer Boy (Little House Series: Classic Stories #2)

Farmer Boy (Little House Series: Classic Stories #2)


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The second book in the treasured Little House series, Farmer Boy is Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved story of how her husband, Almanzo, grew up as a farmer boy far from the little house where Laura lived. This edition features the classic black-and-white artwork from Garth Williams.

The nine Little House books have been cherished by generations of readers as both a unique glimpse into America’s frontier history and as heartwarming, unforgettable stories. The Little House series has captivated millions of readers with its depiction of life on the American frontier.

While Laura Ingalls grows up on the prairie, Almanzo Wilder is living on a big farm in New York State. Here Almanzo and his brother and sisters help with the summer planting and fall harvest. In winter there is wood to be chopped and great slabs of ice to be cut from the river and stored. Time for fun comes when the jolly tin peddler visits, or best of all, when the fair comes to town.

Almanzo wishes for just one thing—his very own horse—and he must prove that he is ready for such a big responsibility.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060264253
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/14/1953
Series: Little House Series
Edition description: REV
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 75,736
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.21(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867–1957) was born in a log cabin in the Wisconsin woods. With her family, she pioneered throughout America’s heartland during the 1870s and 1880s, finally settling in Dakota Territory. She married Almanzo Wilder in 1885; their only daughter, Rose, was born the following year. The Wilders moved to Rocky Ridge Farm at Mansfield, Missouri, in 1894, where they established a permanent home. After years of farming, Laura wrote the first of her beloved Little House books in 1932. The nine Little House books are international classics. Her writings live on into the twenty-first century as America’s quintessential pioneer story.

Garth Williams is the renowned illustrator of almost one hundred books for children, including the beloved Stuart Little by E. B. White, Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban, and the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

He was born in 1912 in New York City but raised in England. He founded an art school near London and served with the British Red Cross Civilian Defense during World War II. Williams worked as a portrait sculptor, art director, and magazine artist before doing his first book Stuart Little, thus beginning a long and lustrous career illustrating some of the best known children's books.

In addition to illustrating works by White and Wilder, he also illustrated George Selden’s The Cricket in Times Square and its sequels (Farrar Straus Giroux). He created the character and pictures for the first book in the Frances series by Russell Hoban (HarperCollins) and the first books in the Miss Bianca series by Margery Sharp (Little, Brown). He collaborated with Margaret Wise Brown on her Little Golden Books titles Home for a Bunny and Little Fur Family, among others, and with Jack Prelutsky on two poetry collections published by Greenwillow: Ride a Purple Pelican and Beneath a Blue Umbrella. He also wrote and illustrated seven books on his own, including Baby Farm Animals (Little Golden Books) and The Rabbits’ Wedding (HarperCollins).

Date of Birth:

February 7, 1867

Date of Death:

February 10, 1957

Place of Birth:

Pepin, Wisconsin

Place of Death:

Mansfield, Missouri

Read an Excerpt

Farmer Boy

By Laura Ingalls Wilder

Rebound by Sagebrush

Copyright ©2003 Laura Ingalls Wilder
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0613714229

Chapter One

It was January in northern New York State, sixty-seven years ago. Snow lay deep everywhere. It loaded the bare limbs of oaks and maples and beeches, it bent the green boughs of cedars and spruces down into the drifts. Billows of snow covered the fields and the stone fences.

Down a long road through the woods a little boy trudged to school, with his big brother Royal and his two sisters, Eliza Jane and Alice. Royal was thirteen years old, Eliza Jane was twelve, and Alice was ten. Almanzo was the youngest of all, and this was his first going-to-school, because he was not quite nine years old.

He had to walk fast to keep up with the others, and he had to carry the dinner-pail.

"Royal ought to carry it," he said. "He's bigger than I be."

Royal strode ahead, big and manly in boots, and Eliza Jane said:

"No, 'Manzo. It's your turn to carry it now, because you're the littlest."

Eliza Jane was bossy. She always knew what was best to do, and she made Almanzo and Alice do it.

Almanzo hurried behind Royal, and Alice hurried behind Eliza Jane, in the deep paths made by bobsled runners. On each side the soft snow was piled high. The road went down a long slope, then it crossed a little bridge and went on for a mile through the frozen woods to the schoolhouse.

The cold nipped Almanzo's eyelids and numbed his nose, but inside his good woolen clothes he was warm. They were all made from the wool of his father's sheep. His underwear was creamy white, but Mother had dyed the wool for his outside clothes.

Butternut hulls had dyed the thread for his coat and his long trousers. Then Mother had woven it, and she had soaked and shrunk the cloth into heavy, thick fullcloth. Not wind nor cold nor even a drenching rain could go through the good fullcloth that Mother made.

For Almanzo's waist she had dyed fine wool as red as a cherry, and she had woven a soft, thin cloth. It was light and warm and beautifully red.

Almanzo's long brown pants buttoned to his red waist with a row of bright brass buttons, all around his middle. The waist's collar buttoned snugly up to his chin, and so did his long coat of brown fullcloth. Mother had made his cap of the same brown fullcloth, with cozy ear-flaps that tied under his chin. And his red mittens were on a string that went up the sleeves of his coat and across the back of his neck. That was so he couldn't lose them.

He wore one pair of socks pulled snug over the legs of his underdrawers, and another pair outside the legs of his long brown pants, and he wore moccasins. They were exactly like the moccasins that Indians wore.

Girls tied heavy veils over their faces when they went out in winter. But Almanzo was a boy, and his face was out in the frosty air. His cheeks were red as apples and his nose was redder than a cherry, and after he had walked a mile and a half he was glad to see the schoolhouse.

It stood lonely in the frozen woods, at the foot of Hardscrabble Hill. Smoke was rising from the chimney, and the teacher had shoveled a path through the snowdrifts to the door. Five big boys were scuffling in the deep snow by the path.

Almanzo was frightened when he saw them. Royal pretended not to be afraid, but he was. They were the big boys from Hardscrabble Settlement, and everybody was afraid of them.

They smashed little boys' sleds, for fun. They'd catch a little boy and swing him by his legs, then let him go headfirst into the deep snow.

Sometimes they made two little boys fight each other, though the little boys didn't want to fight and begged to be let off.

These big boys were sixteen or seventeen years old and they came to school only in the middle of the winter term. They came to thrash the teacher and break up the school. They boasted that no teacher could finish the winter term in that school, and no teacher ever had.

This year the teacher was a slim, pale young man. His name was Mr. Corse. He was gentle and patient, and never whipped little boys because they forgot how to spell a word. Almanzo felt sick inside when he thought how the big boys would beat Mr. Corse. Mr. Corse wasn't big enough to fight them.

There was a hush in the schoolhouse and you could hear the noise the big boys were making outside. The other pupils stood whispering together by the big stove in the middle of the room. Mr. Corse sat at his desk. One thin cheek rested on his slim hand and he was reading a book. He looked up and said pleasantly: "Good morning."

Royal and Eliza Jane and Alice answered him politely, but Almanzo did not say anything. He stood by the desk, looking at Mr. Corse. Mr. Corse smiled at him and said:

"Do you know I'm going home with you tonight?" Almanzo was too troubled to answer. "Yes," Mr. Corse said. "It's your father's turn."

Every family in the district boarded the teacher for two weeks. He went from farm to farm till he had stayed two weeks at each one. Then he closed school for that term.

When he said this, Mr. Corse rapped on his desk with his ruler; it was time for school to begin. All the boys and girls went to their seats. The girls sat on the left side of the room and boys sat on the right side, with the big stove and wood-box ...


Excerpted from Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder Copyright ©2003 by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Farmer Boy 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 65 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best thing ever happening!+++++9,0000000% asome.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He walks in
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walks in
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walks in.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I gtgtb but come back tomorrow fam!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I was in third grade my teacher read almost all of them I think,I like when the teacher whipped Bill Richy!! I love Laura's books!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read the entire Laura Ingalls Wilder seiris. I don't know if Farmer Boy is my favorite book; but it's a good read full of laughs, belive me! RebekahRater
InTheBookcase More than 1 year ago
Almanzo Wilder is a farmer, who wants to be just as hard a worker as his father is. He helps his family by working with their crops of hay, selling the potatoes, hoeing carrots, planting corn & pumpkins, and picking berries. He learns how to do everything else on the farm too, like dealing with the sheep & pigs, to training the young oxen & horses, to gathering the sap from the trees. Almanzo also does things that other children do, like going to school, or sledding on a winter day, and sometimes he gets in trouble, whether he's in it by himself or with his older brother & sisters. There's usually something exciting going on, like the County Fair, or a holiday like Independence Day. When Mother & Father leave for a few days, what do you think the children do in their absence? He's a hungry growing boy and it seems that the Wilder's table is always overflowing with good home-cooked food, so there's plenty, even for Almanzo's very large appetite. "Farmer Boy" is the third book in the "Little House" series, but since Almanzo's story isn't connected to the other stories in the series, you can read this book at any time, even if you haven't read any of the other books. A few years ago, my family read this book aloud, and I've read it again myself since then. I enjoy reading the "Little House" books, and this one is a definite favorite. I think anyone, boys or girls, would like reading this story.
Mom-in-NY More than 1 year ago
I bought this book to read with my 5 year old son who loves learning about what life was like in the past (especially during 'pioneer' times). We visited the Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown, NY this past summer and he relates much of what he saw there to Almanzo's life. He has very little difficulty reading this book, but prefers to hear me read it to him. Some parts have been very excting, and others are a little more harsh than I had originally wanted to discuss with him (the death of a past school teacher being beaten to death by an unruly group of students---don't worry this info does not spoil any part of the book ¿), but he is very mature for his five years and has been able to deal with it. We are loving this book so far....I would highly recommend this book to any child interested in learning about life in the late 1800's or agriculture/ growing up on a farm.
MamaFoxHF More than 1 year ago
I have 3 boys ages 8, 9 1/2 and 11 1/2 and last summer we read some of Farmer Boy. We would start our reading time with 3 boys but my youngest was not yet old enough to sit still and listen through a whole chapter and so not everyone heard all of the chapters. Without full participation, my commitment faltered and we ended up not finishing the book. This summer the boys asked if Farmer Boy could be our Summer Bedtime Book again, so I gave it another try. After they are in their PJs, they all bring their pillows, fuzzy blankets and bean bags into the living room and we usually make it through a couple of chapters in an evening. We often stop to talk about vocabulary words to make sure that everyone is learning new words as well as understanding the words in the context that they are used (like "gay" means "happy" in this book.) My boys love their Wii, TV and Nintendo DSs, however this book can keep their attention beautifully! What I love the most are the memories that I am making with my boys. So the other day I came up with the idea of buying them each their own copy of Farmer Boy (the copy that I have been reading out of is my yellowed, tattered paperback copy that was printed in 1971.) With each copy, I will write them each a note to help them remember our fun Farmer Boy reading time during the summer of 2010. I will place the 3 copies with their notes in my hope chest and give the books to them when they each become fathers. Though far from Super Mom, sometimes when I do nurturing or fun things with my boys I tell them, "Promise me that you will do this with your children some day." I do hope that they remember and continue with this great tradition of reading to their kids! Now go read to your kids, grandchildren or even your spouse, it really is a fun way to bond!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i think this is the best Laura Inglles Wilder EVER wrote. it's become my favorite book i've read for years!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book!! I think that it is the best book in the whole series. I have no idea what my favorite part is. Maybe when their mom and dad are gone and they eat a ton of ice cream and watermelon and cake. And when they are shearing and he finds the kittens. Or when he takes the whole sheep up to the loft.
bratlaw on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A book by a favorite author. I've reread this series so many times, the books are becoming very worn. Laura and her family, Pa, Ma, Mary, and baby Carrie live in the big words of Wisconsin near Pepin. Laura"s unique style of story telling is appealing to all ages.
megadallion on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Unfortunately, I didn't read this as a little girl. I really wish I had though because it was amazing. I can't believe I learned so much from a children's book - everything from how pioneers had to make houses and furniture to how they concocted cheese and candy. This gives an intimate view of what it was like to grow up in the pioneering days from the vantage point of a little girl, Laura. I'm looking forward to finishing the series.
rainbowdarling on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The third story in the series is an interesting departure. Instead of telling the next chapter of Laura's life, it tells a bit of Almanzo's. The Wilder family is different than the Ingalls family somewhat. The family at this point of the story is still in New York State and that provides a different picture of life than that of life on the prairie frontier. It gives us a little idea of who this Almanzo Wilder is, too, before he reappears later in the story. Of all the stories, I enjoyed this one, but it was my least favorite because of its departure from the story of Laura's family. It feels like an interjection rather than being a part of a chronological telling of the story. All the same, the characters in it are interesting and I felt like I was actually there thanks to the descriptions within. It's a good story that just doesn't seem like a true part of the book series.
BoundTogetherForGood on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this to Aaron and Marlo in January 2001. I began reading it to Matthew and Elijah sometime while we lived in the UK. Eventually Gigi and I reached the point we were ready to begin this book so I stopped and began it again, for her. We love the whole series of books, as well as the television series.
eesti23 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Farmer Boy is the third book in the Little House on the Prairie series and focuses on the young Almanzo Wilder. In the future Almanzo and Laura Ingalls will marry but for now the book focuses on Almazo's youth from his education, both in and out of school, and home/family life. I really enjoyed this book in the series, especially because it showed the differences between Almanzo's more luxurious childhood compared to Laura's less luxurious childhood.
sharese on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary:The life of Laura Ingalls Wilder's husband as a child is told in the style in which she told about her own childhood. He grew up as a farmer's child in NY with all the responsiblities of a farm. It's a great chapter book meant to be read and understood by children. Always a classic.Review:I really enjoyed this book and all that LIW wrote. I truly loved Almonzo's father's character and he reminded me very much of Laura's Pa in the way he thought about the world and what he wanted for his children. The adventures he had with his sister and brother are great to read and really have great family values behind all the words.
silversurfer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Charming book about young Almanzo's life growing up on the Wilder farm, in New York in the 1800's. He is only 10 years old, a long way off from becoming Laura's future husband, but this book sets the tone for his personality. The descriptive narrative is amazing. You really fel like you are there, sitting down to Christmas dinner. You can almost smell the aroma of all the varied foods on the table. Farm life was hard and Laura's story about Almanzo's growing up, makes me appreciate the life I live today.
Whisper1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've never read the Little House on the Prairie books. When I found three of them, including this one, at a neighborhood yard sale, I couldn't resist paying .10 for each.While some who don't understand the appeal of YA works may scoff at this series, I found this book to be delightfully refreshing.The beauty and charm lies in the simplicity of rural farm life in the 19th century. Written from the perspective of ten year old Almanzo Wilder, there is a rhythm and lyrical quality throughout.Nothing earth scattering occurs, and unlike many YA books where there is a coming of age theme, this story veers off the path of that direction and instead, like a babbling brook, quietly pulls the reader into the tale of a young man with a solid, hard-working family who care about each other and do what has to be done to make a living.Harkening back to a time when the items we now call necessities were not available, there were charming descriptions of soft candle light shining through the window on hard crusted icy snow, of sleigh rides to church, of one room school houses, of planting seeds by hand and of sheering sheep, dying wool and sewing clothes.This week was a bear at work and each night I arrived home tired and stressed, this was exactly what I needed to read -- a wonderful tale that provided relaxation and smiles.Recommended
LCoale1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love this book like no other! I grew up with it, and know half of it word for word, but I still love re-reading it. It's like a book version of comfort food. The descriptions are vivid and wonderful. I really get a picture of what it'd be like to live in the 1800s on a farm, it's great.
EmmanuelDA on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Laura Ingles Wilder probably read alot when she was a kid. I can tell. Farmer boy is my proof. Long and perfect.
Kiwiria on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It took me quite awhile to read this one the first time around, because I didn't originally think that a book not about Laura could possibly be as good. I don't know why I thought that, seeing as it was the same person writing them, and fortunately my mum talked me into reading it. Now, it's one of my favourite of the series. It has a lot more explaining how they do this or that, but that doesn't bother me at all, since lots of this is completely new to me. I also like the fact that this book spans over almost exactly one year, so you get to see how life on a farm was back in those days.
skier123 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Alonzo lives on a farm. He faces challenges such as an accident in the pantry and many more. This is a great book.
Zathras86 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I came back to this old childhood favorite because I am spending this summer working on a small vegetable farm. These books are every bit as wonderful as they were when I first read them as a child, although I notice different things now.This is certainly an idealized version of 19th-century American farming - the Wilder family farm is wonderfully prosperous and the main hardship of the story is that Almanzo's father does not think he is old enough to help train the horses. I suppose the fact that adults always idealize their own childhood, combined with the fact that this childhood was something Laura Ingalls Wilder heard about secondhand from her husband rather than experienced firsthand, leads to it being even more sugar-coated than the other books. But it's still incredibly charming, and there is something that appeals to me about the view of life and morality presented here - the incredible self-sufficiency of the farm is incredible to read about, and makes me secretly wish I had as many useful skills as any given character in the novel.The book also rivals the Redwall series with endless descriptions of mouth-watering meals. I wish I could eat like that as often as these characters do!