Saturday, February 16, 2013

g's bookshelf: farmer boy

last year our read aloud material was all about engaging g in the joy of reading.  this year i'm more into choosing books that i think will mold his character.  i surely cut my eye teeth on my sister's set of "little house on the prairie" books.  i devoured the series many, many times, so i knew "farmer boy" would be a good read for us.  i think it's important for gabriel to realize that life wasn't always so easy and affluent the way it is for so many of us today.  "farmer boy" was perfect for communicating this idea.  the family worked together from dawn to dusk to grow, harvest, and make everything they needed to survive and thrive in their time.  the ground was plowed by man and horse, wheat was planted, nature watered it, it was cut and shocked by hand, threshed by hand, the stalks fed to the cattle, the grain taken to the mill, the flour turned into bread, donuts, and pies by mother, and almanzo, the little boy in the story, could surely eat.  merino sheep were raised, bathed and sheared by the men and boys, the wool was taken to town to get carded then dyed by the girls before mother wove it into cloth on her loom then sewed it into clothing for the family.  and serendipitously, almanzo celebrates his ninth birthday in the opening chapters.  it's a charming read with lots to talk about.

here's what g had to say:

they don't get paid much, but back then everybody was poor so the prices were very low.  his dad was very good at planting crops.  it was bad when they made the candy and almanzo gave some of the candy to his pig.  when there was school, nobody had finished winter term and when the big boys tried to hurt the teacher, the teacher brought out the black snake whip.  that was scary, but it was right because those boys killed a man.  and when almanzo brought back mr. thompson's wallet, he called almanzo a thief and then he gave him a nickel, but almanzo gave the nickel back.  mr. paddock said you'd better give him $100 dollars, no you gotta give him $200 dollars!  and when almanzo went back to his dad, almanzo's dad said you can keep the money and almanzo's dad said do you want to spend the money and almanzo said he wanted to put it in the bank.  it was weird at the end because the end was that the entire story was about almanzo getting a colt.


  1. Farmer Boy was the book I had looked forward to the least in this series and the one I enjoyed the most.

  2. This was a favorite of mine when I was a kid.