I must be a big Laura Ingalls Wilder fan because I remember watching the Little House On The Prairie on TV a lot as a child. I've also taken my family to the Wilder's homestead in Missouri. (It's not far from where I live.) Even so, Farmer Boy is the first book that I've read by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I was not disappointed. In fact, the whole family enjoyed it.
Farmer boy follows the life of Mrs. Wilder's husband Almanzo, when he was a young farm boy. It takes place in 1866 and is a sort of life and times story, showing us the life of a young boy who lived on a large family farm.
Farmer Boy leads us through everyday activities like chores, meals and work. Yes, these are everyday, humdrum occurrences, but it's so neat to see those humdrum activities from 150 years ago because they are so different form ours. Farmer Boy also gives us a glimpse of special celebrations on holidays like Christmas and Independence Day.
One of the things that stuck out to me is the fact that they eat extremely well! I find it amazing that they're not enormously fat from all of the fattening and deliciously sounding foods. It must be because of the amount of physical work they put in every day. Early chapters in the book make your mouth water as they describes the buttery biscuits and gravy, tempting cakes, cookies and all sorts of meals that Almanzo's mother seems to make every day. Plus, they eat ice cream too, fresh from the farm, homemade ice cream! Farmer Boys shows us how the Wilders harvested ice in the winter and stored it for year-round use. We also see how sugar was harvested and stored.
Now I don't mean to come across with the idea that this book is an encyclopedia or dictionary of life in the 1800's, not at all! Farmer Boy is a very entertaining book that walks us through Almanzo's life and shows us how he lived. It's very interesting and engaging. Simple things like how Almanzo gets his own cows and trains them to pull a sled.
We also read simple life principles. For example, the Wilders don't work to earn a living. Instead they work to put food on the table, today and for the rest of the year. They also work because, well, what else is there to do? At one point Almanzo's father even talks about a machine that helps to harvest the hay. He points out that there's no need for a machine to do that, because there's no need to save time! "We'll end up sitting around with nothing to do, fidgeting our thumbs. We might as well put in the work and save the money on the machine." It's a very interesting point of view, especially in light of today's microwave culture.
We also see some reference into how people behaved many years ago. For example the previous schoolmaster was killed by some of the big, rough and tough School students. Yes, the students! The new schoolmaster had to whip them into shape, literally!
It seems that people back then, the good people (which was mostly everyone), were more guided by principles and morals. For example, it was an insult to be considered a thief. Plus, kids didn't have to be a fully grown to do the things that men and women do. Farmer Boys teaches us about responsibility, working with our family, and respecting and loving them.
I highly recommend that you read Farmer boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It's full of information about the way families used to operate, it's entertaining and you'll get some very good laughs!
Have you read Farmer boy? What's your favorite book by Laura ingalls Wilder? Let me know your comments down below!
Ben Russell is author of "Noah Drake And The Dragon Killer". He writes Juvenile/Middle Grade Fiction Adventures. He's not a scientist or a doctor of history; he's just a guy that's interested in those subjects. He's very interested in creation. His inner child gets excited about dinosaurs and the idea that they're not millions of years old. He despises the theory of evolution, believing it's a stumbling block to the Christian faith. Ben is a family man. He and his lovely wife have four happy kids and they make their home among the roaming hills of the Missouri Ozarks.