Farmer Boy is the second book in the Little House Book Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It was published in 1933 and originally illustrated by Helen Sewell, drawings by Garth Williams were added to the later editions. It is the fourth best-selling book in the Little House book series; On the Banks of Plum Creek is the third.
Farmer Boy is based on the childhood of Laura's future husband, Almanzo Wilder, who grew up in the 1860's near the town of Burke in upstate New York. The book covers one year in his life, beginning just before his ninth birthday, and describes in detail the endless chores involved in running the Wilder family farm. Young as he is, Almanzo rises before 5 a.m. 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, who are composites of a larger group of Wilder siblings.
Almanzo works hard to prove to his parents and older siblings that he is capable of greater responsibilities on the farm, despite his youth and small size. He loves horses, and his biggest dream is that someday his father might trust him enough to give him one of his own. It finally comes true when he goes to town with his father one day and a local wheelwright offers him an apprenticeship. His parents hope he'll become a farmer (Royal has already announced his intention to become a storekeeper), but ask him whether he wants to accept the wheelwright's offer. He exclaims incredulously "Can I really tell you what I want?" – then delights them both by asking for a colt of his own to train.
Little House Books
- Little House in the Big Woods (1932)
- Farmer Boy (1933)
- Little House on the Prairie (1935)
- On the Banks of Plum Creek (1937)
- By the Shores of Silver Lake (1939)
- The Long Winter (1940)
- Little Town on the Prairie (1941)
- These Happy Golden Years (1943)
- The First Four Years (1968)