Sunday, October 04, 2009

Children's Book Monday

Do you need a read-aloud for autumn? This one is our favorite, and we are currently reading it for our third fall in a row, it's that wonderful.

Farmer Boy
by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Illustrated by Garth Williams

Didn't we all read the Little House series when we were growing up? It is such a joy now to share these with our little ones; to watch their eyes grow wide at descriptions of wolves howling outside the shanty, or lick their lips at the tantalizing descriptions of food tables, heavy laden with the firstfruits of the seasons.

Farmer Boy is the story of Almanzo Wilder, the man who married Laura Ingalls. Although this book spans all four seasons, we find that it is the first story we think of when the temperature dips, rain falls, and the nights grow colder near the end of September.

The book spans one year in Almanzo's life, and it begins when he is nearly nine (so, right between my two boys, which they think is marvelous!). I love how hard the children work, and how hard they play. How they respect their parents, and are honored right back with privileges they've earned because of their growing responsibilities.

You will positively drool over the descriptions of mealtime:

Almanzo ate the sweet, mellow baked beans. He ate the bit of salt pork that melted like cream in his mouth. He ate mealy boiled potatoes, with brown ham-gravy. He ate the ham. He bit deep into velvety bread spread with sleek butter, and he ate the crisp golden crust. He demolished a tall heap of pale mashed turnips, and a hill of stewed yellow pumpkin. Then he sighed, and tucked his napkin deeper into the neckband of his red waist. And he ate plum preserves and strawberry jam, and grape jelly, and spiced waltermelon-rind pickles. He felt very comfortable inside. Slowly he ate a large piece of pumpkin pie.
I have to remind my boys during every reading, Yes, my dears, but they walked miles to and from school and spent the next hours until dusk working in the barn! They had to eat that much! (Almanzo often fell right to sleep there at the table following such a meal!)

And you all (even the children!) will appreciate the joy that Almanzo finds, even in his work:

That evening, Father said to Almanzo:
"Well, son, corn-husking's done. What say we make a bobsled for Star and Bright tomorrow?"
"Oh, Father!" Almanzo said. "Can I- will you let me haul wood from the timber this winter?"
Father's eyes twinkled. "What else would you need a bobsled for?" he asked.
Your entire family, even down to your three-year-olds, will enjoy hearing this book read aloud. Make it your tradition, whether it happens first thing in the morning or at the end of the day, following a lovely supper of your own. You will never forget that precious time.

Happy family reading!

11 fellow travelers shared:

jenny said...

I love, love, LOVE the Little House series! All four of my children (ages 3-6) loved when I read the series aloud to them before bedtime this past year.

And don't you just love how Almanzo's Pa let him decide for himself if he'd like to be a shop keeper or a farmer? Once a farmer boy, always a farmer boy. Good stuff!

Anonymous said...

If you want to read more about Almanzo Wilder, go to:

Kristin said...

My children are in awe of the chapter where Almonzo throws the blacking brush against the wall. Their eyes go wide with the mix of fear and amazement!

Carrie at dumptrucksandteacups said...

How we love this book as well... I think we might just need to grab it and join you in making it a fall tradition.

Tonya said...

Hi, I found your blog through my friend Beth. I love sharing books. See my pick for today. I had to comment due the fact that I LOVE that book too!! It is on my list of all time favorites sidebar. We've read it aloud twice and will again I'm sure. We are starting Little Town Prairie. I love the descriptions you gave and don't you just wonder at how Almonzo's family differed in how they stayed put and handled business so well? Also, I really love the chapter on the dog God sent to protect them!
Have a great day!

Linda said...

Even grandmas enjoy reading this one. I just love all the Little House books and loved sharing them with my children and grandchildren. They are just precious to me.

Joy @ SAH Missionary said...

This is a favorite of ours as well...but it always makes us hungry!! They eat so much amazing food and it is so thoroughly described!
We are reading Little Town on the Prarie as a family now....not my favorite but still good.

Elise, you are a breath of fresh air, an inspiration...I love visiting your blog!

Liz said...

One of my FAVORITE "Little House" books. Love so many parts of it. (I was always intrigued by the idea that you could put all that popcorn into a glass of milk and not have it overflow. Of course, I hate soggy stuff so I'd never really DO it, but I was intrigued nonetheless. And I love the ending. Ah, good memories.

My current children's book recommendation focuses on family and the many ways families are formed: even stray animals of different species who live on an abandoned farm. It's Runt Farm: Under New Management," and is quite cute, with messages you're not hit over the head with. Kids will relate to all the animals and their various personalities.

Happy reading!

Anonymous said...

Elise, I thoroughly enjoyed your review! We are just finishing this book with our oldest 2 boys. It has been a treasure. I didn't get to read these as a child, so now I am particularly thankful for the joy of sharing it with them.

I keep thinking that you would LOVE this 2009 Cynthia Rylant picture book "All in a Day". It has cut paper illustrations...very simple. It is truly special describes the wonder, joy and hope that a day biblical too. Mary Brooke in Atlanta

Tonya said...

Elise, sorry it took me so long to see your comment. I would love to do a review of a book for you but is there anything I need to know first and is it too late? Let me know! Can it be a similar one which is what we're on? Blessings to your sweet little family and blog. :)

Beverly said...

LOVE. LOVE. LOVE the Little House series. My mom read them aloud to me when I was young, and I will do the same with my girls when they get older. So much to look forward to!

Thank you for doing these reviews. Lena and I have benefited much, and I find myself with my library website open as I read your reviews!

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