While Laura Ingalls grows up in a little house on the western prairie, Almanzo Wilder is living on a big farm in New York State. Here Almanzo and his brother and sisters help with the summer planting and fall harvest. In winter there is wood to be chopped and great slabs of ice to be cut from the river and stored. Time for fun comes when the jolly tin peddler visits, or best of all, when the fair comes to town.
This is Laura Ingalls Wilder's beloved story of how her husband Almanzo grew up as a farmer boy far from the little house where Laura lived.
If you picked up this book expecting to learn more about the pioneering adventures of the Ingalls family, you won't find it here. This story is about Almanzo Wilder, who as a young man will marry Laura Ingalls, but for now is a boy growing up on a large farm in New York. While his older brother, Royal, can't wait to move to the city and begin life as a shopkeeper or clerk, Almanzo loves the farm, and can't imagine any other life but farming. He especially loves the horses and desperately wants a colt of his own. But before he can have one he must prove he is ready for the responsibility. This book is rich in details about farm life in the late 1800s. Leather for boots, tallow for candles, fat for soap, and of course, meat for the dinner table, all come from the Wilders' slaughtered cattle. Not even the tiniest part is wasted. It puts our current throwaway society to shame. Wilder describes in great detail the process Almanzo uses in completing his chores, so readers can feel that they are making candles, growing a prize-winning pumpkin, or helping with the sheep shearing right along with him. Part of the "Little House" series, this book is not only enjoyable, but it would make a great addition to a classroom discussion of America's frontier past. 2003 (orig. 1933), Avon Books/Harper Collins Publishers,