Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Farmer Boy

Farmer Boy

Laura Ingalls Wilder
Illustrator:   Garth Williams 
Historical Fiction  Series
For ages 8 and up
HarperCollins, 1971   ISBN: 978-0064400039

More than anything nine-year old Almanzo wishes he could have a colt of his own. His father has some beautiful horses in his stables but Almanzo knows better than to touch the animals for his father is afraid that a loud and perhaps thoughtless child might spoil the colts which would make it hard to train them later. So for now Almanzo has to admire the colts from a distance. Of course Almanzo has a great deal to keep him occupied these days. He is now old enough to go to school and his father is giving him more and more chores to do. Almanzo helps take care of the stock, he works in their field and garden, he reluctantly helps his mother in the house, and he has his calves Star and Bright to train.

As the year unfolds there are always exciting and new things to do about the farm. Before spring arrives Father, Almanzo and his big brother Royal have to fill the ice house with enough ice to last them through the summer months. In the spring everyone works to plant the garden and fields. Then, in the summer, there is the Fourth of July to celebrate in town, and the hay has to be brought in.

With great skill and enthusiasm Laura Ingalls Wilder paints a fascinating picture of what it was like to grow up on a farm in Upstate New York in the mid 1800’s. Readers will be astonished to read about how this family make or grow practically everything they need. From the cloth for their clothes, to the flour for their bread; from the leather for their shoes, to the ice for their eggnog, everything has to be grown or made on the farm and in the woods around it. In this day and age when self sufficiency is almost non existent in western societies, it is truly fascinating to read about such a different and obviously rewarding life. Laura Ingalls Wilder once again shows us what a masterful storyteller she is as she describes a year in the life of her husband Almanzo Wilder.