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Farmer Boy

(Little House #2)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  57,599 ratings  ·  2,267 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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Alysa Farmer Boy was originally second in the series when the books were first published in the 1930s. When the series was illustrated and re-released in th…moreFarmer Boy was originally second in the series when the books were first published in the 1930s. When the series was illustrated and re-released in the 1950s, Farmer Boy was released as #3 in the series. It is only recently that it is being listed as #2 again.(less)

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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  57,599 ratings  ·  2,267 reviews

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Miranda Reads
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Are you hungry yet?

Much of Laura's childhood was spent in near-starvation. While they always had something to eat, it was never enough for the family to be satisfied.

Thus when Laura wrote about Almanzo (her future husband)'s childhood, she focused on the most idyllic parts and what she wanted for her own childhood and her child - which was a full stomach and stable home.
Almanzo simply ate. He ate ham and chicken and turkey, and dressing and cranberry jelly; he ate potatoes and gravy, succot
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!
I enjoyed listening to this engagingly narrated and enchanting story. (I won’t recap my thoughts on the story; you can read my review of the print version here:

Listening to the audio version after reading the book reinforced the story for me and many scenes definitely stood out more. Additionally, language differences also stood out more when heard instead of read. One instance is the family’s use of be (as in “Be you sick, Almanzo?”) instead of the conj
As a child, this was my least favorite Little House book as it wasn't about Laura. But now as an adult, I have grown to like and appreciate it as another perspective on pioneer living. Laura Ingalls Wilder honors and respects her husband by telling his story too. The story of Almanzo Wilder’s childhood days shows another farm family’s lifestyle in America's earlier days. The juxtaposition between the life of a homesteading family and the life of an established farm family in a settled part of th ...more
Jun 17, 2008 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
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.
David Schaafsma
Listened to ¾ of this in January, and now, two months later, finished it today, also in the car. And pretty much loved it. This is not about Laura's family, though it’s technically listed #3 IN the Little House on the Prairie series. It functions as a kind of contrast in that it is a wealthier farm life experience in New England vs. the Midwestern farm life Laura lived, seemingly near starvation. This book is about her future' husband Almanzo Wilder's family.

As with Laura’s family, she describe
Cindy Rollins
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Much wailing and gnashing of teeth this morning as we finished Farmer Boy. My student could not believe it was over! Going to be hard to top this one in the coming months. Not sure how many times I have read this but I am thinking five.
I believe after Little House in the Big Woods, it is the best book in the Little House series.

Goodbye, Almanzo. Not sure when we will meet again.
Jan 10, 2009 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
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
I'm actually not sure if I read this one as a child, but I wanted to go ahead and read it before I got to my re-read of Little House on the Prairie. Kind of bored unfortunately, but the narrator of the audio version did a great job.
catherine ♡
Jun 12, 2016 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 unforgettable.
Oct 31, 2019 rated it liked it
I want to like this book more than I did. Found it slow and really childish at times. It was missing something, but what I don't really know. It does however tell such a realistic story of the time being and therefor is a good representation of the time.

This book is in the 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up challenge I am doing.
Another very cute story! This one was different from the Little House books that I've read so far because Almanzo lives on a farm near a town rather than the frontier, but it was still written in the same charming way that gave me all sorts of historical insights.

The characters were enjoyable once again, as well. All unique personalities, not repeats of previous characters, and I especially enjoyed the family dynamic.


Swearing: On rare occasion it's said someone swore, but the word is not
Nov 15, 2012 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 08, 2016 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
Lydia Therese
I thought I wouldn't really like this book because it isn't about Laura and the rest of the Ingalls family. Well boy was I wrong!! I LOVED Farmer Boy!

Let me just say all those mouthwatering descriptions of all of that delicious made me so hungry I actually went up and got myself a bowl of ice-cream. xD

I also think Almanzo's father is great. He disciplines and lets Almanzo figure things out for himself, but he's also very kind, compassionate and sensible. Alice was also fun, she remin
Katie Ziegler (Life Between Words)
Lovely. I don’t remember reading this one as a kid. I think I skipped it because it was about a boy. Silly young Kate. It was wonderful, because of course it was...
Great Book Study
This one makes me think my kids don't do enough chores around the house!
My review: Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder .

And another review: Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Feb 02, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this story probably a little more than the first book of the series. Almanzo gives us great insight into how children may have grown up in early America. While Laura's story gave us insight into the dances, run ins with wolves, and the food of the day, Almazo's story gives us a peek at school life, how farming the land often took precedence to spelling lessons, and how boys learned bartering and math skills in the market. While the intended audience is for children, this was a pleasant ...more
This was book 6 in the box set I got as a kid (I only made it through five) but was published second and then ordered third with a new edition.

This one was enjoyable because there were more stories than the first couple Little House books: going to school, parents leaving on vacation for a week, county fair. It follows Almanzo Wilder for a little over a year, when he’s 9, living in upstate New York on his family’s rather prosperous farm.

I can’t imagine trying to navigate a farm wearing a hoop sk
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,
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are times when I think this is my favorite of the series. I really love this book. There's so much good food in it - and so much good family - and it's such a different world, and that's compelling - Father being proud enough of his horses where he refused to leave home a minute earlier than he had to, he was so sure they'd get him there in time, Alice confessing to eating almost all the sugar, Almanzo answering his parents' question about his future by asking about a horse -

(And maybe La
Aug 30, 2011 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!
Another wonderful entry in the series, although quite different from the others. This is the story of Almanzo Wilder who would later marry Laura Ingalls. I imagine these stories were memories he shared with Laura as she wrote the novels. Most of the memories have to do with farm chores and the delicious food he ate. (Listening to this on audio made me VERY hungry.)

Almanzo's father is quite different from Laura's "Pa." He is a prosperous farmer and his family lacks for nothing. BUT that doesn't m
Wow....they ate so much! I'm pretty sure that there was pie at every meal. Really this book centers on food - growing it, raising it, harvesting it, preparing it, and eating it. Boy do I take a lot for granted! I loved the look at a prosperous farm - from the filling the ice house to eating the pie :)
Rachel Aranda
Dec 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was great learning about Almanzo Wilder and his family. Since he was going to become Laura's husband and father of their children it was great seeing how important it was to her for her readers to know, understand, and admire Almanzo as much as she did.
You know, I think I enjoyed this book even more than the first two. I’m familiar with Laura’s story, and feel as if I know her well. But this was my first introduction to Almanzo, who I knew absolutely nothing about. Life through the eyes of this little farmer boy was vibrant and fascinating, and I learned something new on almost every page. Almanzo’s life is far different from Laura’s. Almanzo’s family is affluent, and runs a very large farm with lots of livestock, unlike Laura’s family who can ...more
Katie Schuermann
I should preface with the fact that I did not read the Little House series as a child and do not have the benefit of nostalgia in reading these books.

This is my third go at a Little House book as an adult, and I found Farmer Boy to be more vibrant and engaging in its storytelling than Little House in the Big Woods yet not quite so terrifying as Little House on the Prairie. I still tripped over Wilder's signature insertions of wooden, instruction manual-style descriptions of tools and trades from
Continuing my re-read of the Little House books, I was shocked to discover that my copy of this one is also sans cover, as I really didn't have a memory of much that happened. I remembered Star and Bright, and Manley's siblings, but that was about it. It makes an interesting contrast between his upbringing and Laura's much poorer and much more Puritan background.
It's also a good reminder of how much hard farm work will allow you to eat :) I also appreciated that he wasn't good, good, good, and h
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See similar books…
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.

Other books in the series

Little House (9 books)
  • Little House in the Big Woods (Little House, #1)
  • Little House on the Prairie (Little House, #3)
  • 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)

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