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Farmer Boy (Little House #3)

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  42,283 Ratings  ·  1,375 Reviews
Growing up on his family's farm in New York, Almanzo Wilder wishes for just one thing--his very own horse. But Father doesn't yet trust him with such a big responsibility. Almanzo needs to prove himself--but how?
Paperback, 357 pages
Published January 1st 2007 by HarperTrophy (first published 1933)
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Charlotte's Web by E.B. WhiteThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. LewisAnne of Green Gables by L.M. MontgomeryLittle Women by Louisa May Alcott
Favorite books from my childhood
173rd out of 3,475 books — 6,566 voters
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls WilderAnne of Green Gables by L.M. MontgomeryLittle Women by Louisa May AlcottThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
Best Children's Historical Fiction
12th out of 620 books — 662 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Wendy Darling
My annual re-read, this time with Heidi! :)

My favorite of the Little House books from start to finish, but especially the chapter where Ma and Pa go away for a week and the house falls into disarray as the children eat cake, slice watermelon, blacken the parlor wall, and most importantly, use up all the sugar making ice cream. Still no other author has ever captured the life of pioneers in quite this way, and the good eats will make your mouth water!
Jun 17, 2008 Theresa rated it it was amazing
I loved all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, in particular "Little House in the Big Woods", "Little Town on the Prairie" and "These Happy Golden Years". They are books I can read and savor over and over again. But I just need to give a shout out to my absolute favorite Laura Ingalls Wilder book, and that is "Farmer Boy"--to me, Farmer Boy is the under-appreciated middle child of the Laura Ingalls collection. People forget about it just because it doesn't start with "Little" or end with "Prairie". ...more
Jan 10, 2009 Elise rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
Upon finishing Little House on the Prairie the kids and I were dying to know where the Ingalls' adventures would take them next but discovered that the next in the series focuses on Almanzo Wilder, Laura's future husband. We were immediately taken in by the descriptions of late 1800's farm life in upper New York State. We were struck in particular by the richness Almanzo's family enjoyed in comparison with the Ingalls who seemed to be moving all the time. One of my favorite features of this book ...more
SO MUCH WORK! And they all seem to enjoy it, even create MORE work for themselves instead of looking for opportunities to have some leisure time (or a nap at least). I would have never made it in those olden days. I am just too lazy.
Before I hand the reviewing reigns over to Eleanor, I wanted to say a couple things I took out of this book. (Hopefully she doesn't get too impatient.)

There's a lot in the Laura Ingalls Wilder books written for adults as well as kids. The theme of self-reliance comes through loud and clear. The difference in child-rearing... wow. Hold on:

Me: Eleanor, what does it mean to "speak when spoken to?"


Me: Do you think we should make that a rule in our ho
Dec 31, 2012 Kathryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I still didn't love it as well the first few books about Laura's childhood, perhaps because I know and love the Little House stories so well from my own childhood (I know my mom read me "Farmer Boy" but I don't really remember it). That said, I did quite enjoy and appreciate Almanzo's story this time and feel Laura deftly articulated his conundrums being on the cusp of boyhood and young-manhood, both his eagerness to do the more adult work on the farm with his father and older brother as well as ...more
Jul 09, 2016 Kelly added it
Shelves: read-in-2016
I liked this way more than I thought I would. Some quick observations:

1. All this family does is eat and talk about eating and plan around eating.

2. The parents go on a "vacation" for a week to a family's residence 10 miles away and leave the kids alone. Sheer chaos, of course, on the part of the kids.

3. Almanzo's family is way richer than Laura's, but they also seem to work more. Everything is about the value of money to them, which, when they're not eating or talking about eating, is the thi
I loved these farm stories told from 9-year-old Almanzo's point of view. I don't think I read this book when I was young, but it was delightful to read it as an adult.

My father grew up on a farm, and I inherited his pride in what farmers have accomplished. I liked this quote, spoken by Almanzo's father:

"A farmer depends on himself, and the land and the weather. If you're a farmer, you raise what you eat, you raise what you wear, and you keep warm with wood out of your own timber. You work hard,
Catherine ♡
Aug 23, 2016 Catherine ♡ rated it it was amazing
This one and Little House on the Prairie will forever be some of my favorite childhood stories. It tells of such a realistic story, but with such a beautifully innocent touch that I think really complemented the setting and made the story unforgetable.
Feb 01, 2012 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
#3 Farmer Boy - August 2011

I listened to Farmer Boy for the most part, only read a chapter or two in the middle on my own. I enjoy the book so much more read by Cherry Jones rather than my own voice in my brain. She makes me feel so cozy and I'm swept back in time. I don't think I ever read Farmer Boy when I was young, only the books starring Laura. I can't believe how hard Almanzo had to work at such a young age. And he enjoyed the work! And I really can't believe how much he ate! So much food!
Book Concierge
Book on CD read by Cherry Jones

Considered Book # 3 in the Little House series, this book is about a young boy growing up on a farm in upstate New York. Almonzo Wilder will eventually find his way to Laura’s part of the country, but for now he is just starting school and eager to be allowed to work the horses. He’s certain that he would be gentle and never startle them, but Father won’t let him near the prize colts. In the meantime Almonzo learns to farm. The book covers about eighteen months in
Dec 15, 2015 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Almanzo Wilder will eventually become Laura Ingalls' husband. In Farmer Boy, he is 9/10 years old and works on his family farm in upstate New York. As with the prior two books in the series, this one focuses on 'a year in the life'.

While still interesting and heart-warming, this installment is my least favorite so far. With the Ingalls family story, the reader always wonders what will happen next and if all will turn out well for them. For the Wilder's however, things are a little easier. Alman
Lacey Michael
Oct 03, 2014 Lacey Michael rated it it was amazing
Just finished reading this to the kids today. Such a pleasant look into a life that we know so little about! Almonzo is growing up on a farm in the late 1800's in NY state. He works from morning till night learning all sorts of life skills- amazing for an 8-10 year old boy. My kids enjoyed learning about all of his jobs and we all enjoyed reading about the food. Oh.My.Word. the food. Can we please start having Thanksgiving Dinner every meal?! ;)
Jan 24, 2016 Joanna rated it liked it
I think I actually liked this one a little better than Little House in the Big Woods. The Ingalls are subsistence farmers, basically getting by enough to deal with the increasing needs of their family as they grow. The Wilders are still very hard working farmers, but they are actually producing cash crops, and doing well enough to send their oldest kids to "The Academy". This appeals to the simplistic idea of progress I used to have as a kid. That to just get by wasn't enough. As an adult, I see ...more
Almanzo is so cute and lovable-- reading this book is like playing with an adorable loving puppy.

And the food descriptions-- made me crave more food than any exercise or episode on the food network.
Elizabeth K.
Nov 03, 2014 Elizabeth K. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014-new-reads
This is one of my favorites in the series, although it wasn't when I was a kid because it was too much about boys. And not in the good way.

But, thankfully, having read it several times as an adult, I can now see that it's a stellar book any way you look at it. The horses! Breaking calves! Cutting ice! Anarchy in the schools! Racing to save the crop before the frost! The county fair! The FOOD! It's really excellent historical fiction and captures a very particular time and place.

I confess I have
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Along with Little House in the Big Woods, this was always my favourite of Laura Wilder's books. It's a warm, family-centred story about a group of people who really love and care for each other. The description of the farm and house paints a vivid picture, and the beloved horses and calves are definite characters in the story. Almanzo's parents are subsistence farmers who are able to provide most of the family's clothing and home-maintenance needs as well as selling surplus (butter, garden produ ...more
Kressel Housman
Mar 28, 2011 Kressel Housman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: kids, boys, parents
I was a Little House fan as a girl, but since Farmer Boy is the story of Almanzo’s childhood and not Laura’s, I didn’t bother with it. Who wanted to read about boys? Then, I grew up, and it turned out Farmer Boy was my husband’s favorite of the entire series. And since G-d has blessed us with sons, my husband brought it in for them. Our eldest read it on his own, and I read it aloud to the younger ones, which turned out to be a real treat. The book is every bit as good as the rest of the series, ...more
Nafis Oli
Jul 07, 2016 Nafis Oli rated it liked it
এই বইটা পড়ে একটা কথাই মনে হল, 'সময়ের বই সময়ে পড়তে হয়'। চরম মাতরার কলাসিক পাগল হয়েও বইটা পড়ে খুব বেশি খুশি হতে পারিনি। দোষ লেখিকার নয়, আমার। কারণ তিনি যথেষট ভালো লিখেছেন। কিনতু এই বয়সে এসে গলপটা খুব বেশি সপরশ করতে পারল না। আরও আগে পড়া উচিৎ ছিল এই বই। তবে খাবারের বরণনাগুলি রীতিমত জিভে জল এনে দিয়েছে! খাবারের এমন রসাল বরণনা খুব কম পড়েছি :p

নিশচয় দারুণ একটা বই, আরও দারুণ মনে হবে যদি কিশোর বয়সের মধযেই পড়ে ফেলা হয় :)
Oct 13, 2007 Jen rated it it was amazing
I haven't read this in 30 years. It was a treat. We chose it as our October Homeschool bookclub book. In general the parents liked it more than the kids, but many of the kids loved it. We were all struck by the dawn to dust work that the family did, including Almanzo and his siblings. I think many of the parents started thinking "Hmm, 9 year olds doing chores twice a day, what a great idea..." Our kids were wary of that gleam in our eyes.

But along with the useful skills Almanzo learned, and the
Mar 27, 2016 Whitney rated it it was amazing
So good! This one has more of an arc to it (beyond just the seasons like the other two books) and I like that kind of character development. Also, kids are finally a little naughty in this one, which seems less instructional and more playful.
ஐ Briansgirl (Book Sale Queen)ஐ
Okay, I didn't really want to read this book in the series, because it's all about Almanzo's childhood (Laura's future husband). However, once I got started, it was a wonderful peek into how a farmer's life revolves around the seasons and how they did everything by hand. Here's a wonderful quote from page 370, from Almanzo's father... A farmer depends on himself, and the land and the weather. If you're a farmer, you raise what you eat, you raise what you wear, and you keep warm with wood out of ...more
I always enjoy a good old-fashioned story, and it was nice to read about life back then, and the ending was sweet. However, in comparison to the first two, I felt this book dragged a bit.
Mar 10, 2016 Leslie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was great! I can't wait until my son will be ready for this. It did, however, make me very hungry and feel super lazy.
My six year old daughter is currently obsessed by these books (as was I as a child) and so we are reading them aloud together. I got a bit off in their proper order and mis-remembered Farmer Boy as #2 in the series (it is actually #3), but no harm done. As a child, this was actually my least favorite of the series if only because I simply loved Laura and Mary (probably because I related to them best). But as an adult, I found this installment of the series absolutely delightful. My daughter love ...more
Girl with her Head in a Book
For my full review:

From the opening pages, it feels as though we are on familiar territory – Wilder’s prose is so very distinctive in its apparent simplicity and clarity, vividly conjuring up this bygone era when America was a nation newly-forged. We watch young Almanzo walking to school with his sisters and brother, while ‘the cold nipped Almanzo’s eyelids and numbed his nose’ – the setting and characters may have changed but Laura Ingalls Wilder as a na
Full review at Smoke & Mirrors: Oh, my! I loved this book so much more than the first two in this series! I am a farm/country girl, and as a child I always enjoyed "boy" activities so much more than typical "girl" activities! I was right in there with poor Almanzo, though I have no siblings so therefore had no direct experience regarding getting along with brothers and sisters, I could relate to the frustration of having to always "wait" until he was ...more
May 20, 2016 Mitzi rated it liked it
Shelves: vintage-novels
If you enjoy reading detailed, step by step descriptions of farm work, and the eating habits of a boy who is apparently a bottomless pit, then this is the book for you! Not a whole lot else happens, which was ok with me for the first 3/4 of the book, but around there I hit a wall and was ready for it to be over... I did like Almanzo though, I'm assuming he will show up again later in the series so I'm excited for that...
Dec 23, 2014 Emily rated it really liked it
Wilder interrupts her narrative of her own life to tell us about how her future husband grew up on a large farm in New York State. Young Almanzo enjoys helping his father with chores relating to caring for their animals, sowing and reaping their crops, and building various equipment for use around the farm. The narrative drags at times as the process of cobbling shoes and building a bob sled is explained in excruciating detail, but other pursuits are fascinating to read about such as the process ...more
4.5 stars

Laura Ingalls' future husband, Almonzo, grew up on a farm in New York State in the late 19th century. This book fictionalizes Almonzo's life on the farm with his family (parents and three siblings) when he was 9-years old. He loved animals (horses, especially) and enjoyed working on the farm. He didn't like having to attend school.

This is such a great series! I'm not sure I'm saying much different about this book versus the others in the series I've read in the past couple of years, bu
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Goodreads Librari...: series has an edition with wrong order numbering 3 173 Jan 05, 2013 10:44AM  
  • Little Farm in the Ozarks (Little House: The Rocky Ridge Years, #2)
  • Down to the Bonny Glen (Little House: The Martha Years, #3)
  • Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill (Betsy-Tacy, #3)
  • Man of the Family (Little Britches, #2)
  • Little Clearing in the Woods (Little House: The Caroline Years, #3)
  • Happy Birthday, Josefina!: A Springtime Story (American Girls: Josefina, #4)
  • Henry and the Clubhouse (Henry, #5)
  • Sea Star: Orphan of Chincoteague (Misty, #2)
  • A School of Her Own (Grandma's Attic #6)
  • Snow Treasure
Ingalls wrote a series of historical fiction books for children based on her childhood growing up in a pioneer family. She also wrote a regular newspaper column and kept a diary as an adult moving from South Dakota to Missouri, the latter of which has been published as a book.
More about Laura Ingalls Wilder...

Other Books in the Series

Little House (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Little House in the Big Woods (Little House, #1)
  • Little House on the Prairie (Little House, #2)
  • On the Banks of Plum Creek  (Little House, #4)
  • By the Shores of Silver Lake  (Little House, #5)
  • The Long Winter (Little House, #6)
  • Little Town on the Prairie  (Little House, #7)
  • These Happy Golden Years (Little House, #8)
  • The First Four Years  (Little House, #9)
  • On the Way Home: The Diary of a Trip from South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri, in 1894  (Little House #10)
  • West from Home: Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder, San Francisco, 1915  (Little House #11)

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“Never bet your money on another man's game.” 32 likes
“A farmer depends on himself, and the land and the weather. If you're a farmer, you raise what you eat, you raise what you wear, and you keep warm with wood out of your own timber. You work hard, but you work as you please, and no man can tell you to go or come. You'll be free and independent, son, on a farm.” 19 likes
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