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Farmer Boy

by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Series: The Little House Books #3
372 pages, Biography/History
Reviewed by Jeanne

An amusing companion to Laura Ingalls Wilder's autobiographical series.

Plot

Moving from her own family's history, Laura Ingalls Wilder turns to a boy named Almanzo Wilder, her future husband, growing up on a farm in the state of New York. The difference between his life and hers are startling and amusing, for while she lives out in the wilds of the prairie, Almanzo and his family remain in the "cultured" land along the Eastern Seaboard.

Morality

Almanzo's father is much more strict than Laura's pa and disciplines his sons severely. Almanzo sometimes gets into trouble, accidentally or on purpose, but for the most part he ends up being reprimanded for it. He also gets into frequent arguments with his older sister, Eliza Jane. However, like the Ingalls' family, the Wilders uphold good behavior.

Spiritual Content

The Wilders attend church, but other than that there is little or no religious content.

Violence

When Almanzo begins attending school, there are several mentions of how other teachers would slap students' palms with rulers. Several of the boys pride themselves on being able to "thrash the teacher"; the new instructor, however, takes a bull whip to them and teaches them a lesson.

While training a team of oxen, Almanzo is tempted to hit them for being so ornery; he learns to be patient with them, however. He and his brother Royal are soundly "whipped" by their father when they get into trouble.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Mrs. Wilder uses whiskey for flavoring in food. Pipes are smoked by the older men.

Sexual Content

None.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

A French boy exclaims "Sacre bleu!" and it is stated that another boy swears.

Conclusion

This is an amusing companion to the Little House books, and it is fun to see a different side of life during that era. Almanzo's various antics are hilarious and the hard work that goes into farming is clearly shown. Not only that, but it is interesting to see some of the history of Laura's husband.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 4
Written for Age: 11-12

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