Farmer Boy

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Farmer Boy
Farmer Boy ( Laura Ingalls Wilder book).jpg
Front dust jacket with Sewell's illustration
AuthorLaura Ingalls Wilder
IllustratorHelen Sewell[1]
Garth Williams (1953)[2]
CountryUnited States
SeriesLittle House
GenreChildren's novel, farm life
PublisherHarper & Brothers
Publication date
October 1, 1933[3]
Media typePrint (hardcover)
Pages230;[1] 371 pp.[2]
LC ClassPZ7.W6461 Far[1]
Preceded byLittle House in the Big Woods 
Followed byOn 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 later 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 roughly one year of his life, beginning just before his ninth birthday and describes a full year of farming. It describes in detail the endless chores involved in running the Wilder family farm, all without powered vehicles or electricity. Young as he is, Almanzo rises before 5 am every day to milk 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.[4] 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, before 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 is an interactive educational center, museum, and working farm.[9] It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014.[10]


  1. ^ One five-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 penned by Wilder, Farmer Boy (1933), features Laura's husband Almanzo Wilder as a boy. He later 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". Penn ( 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]