Farmer Boy

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Farmer Boy
Farmer Boy ( Laura Ingalls Wilder book).jpg
Front dust jacket with Sewell's 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 on the Prairie
Followed by On the Banks of Plum Creek

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

Plot summary[edit]

The novel is based on the childhood of Wilder's husband, Almanzo Wilder, who grew up in the 1860s near the town of Malone, New York. It covers more than one year in his 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, he rises before 5am 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 his brother, Royal, and 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 Laura's birth (1867–1957). It features Almanzo's brother, Royal (1847–1925), and sisters, Eliza Jane (1850–1930) and Alice (1853–1892). Meanwhile, he also had a sister named 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 named Perley Day (1869–1934), who was not yet born at the time the novel 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 book editor from 1926,[7] she had handled 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 this novel in the issue dated October 1, 1933, which was also its 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.

The Boyhood Home of Almanzo Wilder near Malone is operated by the Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder Association as an interactive educational center, museum, and working farm.[9] It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014.[10]


  1. ^ One 5-volume set, Little House: The Laura Years (January 1994) comprises volumes 1 and 3–6.[11] 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. ^ "Farmer Boy's Home: The Almanzo Wilder Farm". Almanzo & Laura Ingalls Wilder Association. Archived from the original on January 29, 2005. 
  10. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Listings". Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 11/17/14 through 11/21/14. National Park Service. 2014-11-28. 
  11. ^ "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]