First edition cover
|Author||Laura Ingalls Wilder|
|Publisher||Harper & Brothers|
|Media type||Print (hardcover, paperback)|
|Preceded by||Little House in the Big Woods|
|Followed by||Little House on the Prairie|
Farmer Boy is based on the childhood of Laura's husband, Almanzo Wilder, who grew up in the 1860s near the town of Malone in upstate New York. The book covers more than one year in Almanzo's life, beginning just before his ninth birthday, and following at least two harvest cycles. It describes in detail the endless chores involved in running the Wilder family farm. Young as he is, Almanzo rises before 5 a.m. every day to milk several cows and feed stock. In the growing season, he plants and tends crops; in winter, he hauls logs, helps fill the ice house, trains a team of young oxen, and sometimes—when his father can spare him—goes to school. The novel includes stories of Almanzo's brother Royal and his sisters Eliza Jane and Alice.
Since Almanzo (1857-1949) was born in February 1857, the novel is set in 1866–1867, prior to the birth of the author, Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867–1957). The book features Almanzo's brother Royal (1847–1925) and sisters Eliza Jane (1850–1930) and Alice (1853–1892). Meanwhile, he also had a sister Laura (1844–1899), who at the time and events in the novel was already about 22 and had presumably moved out. He later had a brother, Perley Day (1869–1934), who was not yet born at the time Farmer Boy is set.
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