Farmer Boy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Farmer Boy
Farmer Boy ( Laura Ingalls Wilder book).jpg
Front dustjacket with Sewell illustration
Author Laura Ingalls Wilder
Illustrator Helen Sewell[1]
Garth Williams (1953)[2]
Country United States
Series Little House
Genre Children's novel, farm life
Publisher Harper & Brothers
Publication date
October 1, 1933[3]
Media type Print (hardcover)
Pages 230;[1] 371 pp.[2]
OCLC 15872400
LC Class PZ7.W6461 Far[1]
Preceded by Little House in the Big Woods
Followed by Little House on the Prairie

Farmer Boy is a children's historical novel written by Laura Ingalls Wilder and published in 1933. It was the second-published book in the Little House series but its story is not related to the first, which the story of the third novel directly continues. Thus the latter, Little House on the Prairie, is sometimes called the second book in the series, or the second volume of "the Laura Years".[a]

Plot summary[edit]

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[4] 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.

Historical background[edit]

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.[5]


Virginia Kirkus established her pre-publication review service and its semimonthly bulletin Kirkus Reviews (a later name) in January 1933.[6] As children's book editor from 1926,[7] she had handled Ingalls Wilder's debut novel Little House in the Big Woods for Harper & Brothers,[6] which had published it early in 1932 and cut its children's department as an economy measure some months later, for about a year.[7] According to its online archive, Kirkus provided a short review of Farmer Boy in the issue dated October 1, 1933, which was also the novel's publication date at Harper: "A juvenile As the Earth Turns. The story of a vanishing phase of American life, with delightful illustrations by Helen Sewell."[3] As the Earth Turns by Gladys Hasty Carroll was released by Macmillan on May 2 with advanced sales of 20,000 and as the Book-of-the-Month Club selection for May.[8] It featured one year on a family farm in Maine.


  1. ^ One 5-volume set, Little House: The Laura Years (January 1994) comprises volumes 1 and 3–6.[9] Thus it features the Ingalls family until Laura is 14 years old, at the close of the "Long Winter" early in 1881.
      The second novel, Farmer Boy (1933) features Laura's husband Almanzo Wilder as a boy. He appears in the sixth novel and their courtship begins in the seventh.


  1. ^ a b c "Farmer boy" (first edition). Library of Congress Online Catalog ( Retrieved 2015-09-17.
  2. ^ a b "Farmer boy"; Newly illustrated, uniform ed. LC Online Catalog. Retrieved 2015-09-17.
  3. ^ a b "Farmer Boy". Kirkus Reviews. October 1, 1933. Retrieved 2015-10-02. Online the review header shows a recent front cover, "volume 3" and "illustrated by Garth Williams".
  4. ^ Ingalls Wilder, Laura (1933). Farmer Boy. New York NY: HarperCollins. pp. 240–51. ISBN 978-006-4400039. 
  5. ^ "The Genealogy of Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder". PennyN ( Updated August 3, 1999. Retrieved 2013-02-19.
  6. ^ a b "Our History". Kirkus ( Retrieved 2015-10-17.
  7. ^ a b Marcus, Leonard S. (2008). Minders of Make-Believe. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. pp. 104, 111. ISBN 978-0-395-67407-9. 
  8. ^ "Book Notes". The New York Times. May 2, 1933.
  9. ^ "Little House the Laura Years Boxed Set: The Early Years Collection": Paperback – Box set, 1994. Amazon product page. Retrieved 2015-09-17.

External links[edit]