Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder
Publisher: Harper Trophy Book
Part of a Series: Little house in the big woods, Little house on the prairie prequels; on the banks of plum creek
Type of book: pioneer, New York, 1866-1867, kid to adult, 19th century America, farming cycle
Year it was published: 1933
Ten years in the future, Laura Ingalls will marry Almanzo in the town of De Smet, South Dakota. But now, Almanzo is miles away, growing up with his brother and sisters on his father's farm in New York.
Almanzo's chores get him up at dawn and keep him working till dinner-summer and winter. But it is fun, and it builds character. And was there ever a boy who loved horses more? Was there ever a boy with a bigger appetite?
It has been awhile since I read the latter Little House books, so I can't remember if Almanzo's obsession with horses remained constant or changed. There is strength and dependency within the family as well, even on a well supplied farm as that of the family. The family depends on one another for a great many of things such as having fun or working and completing chores. Also, the characters have realism that Ingalls girls lack. There are times when the characters there are not well behaved and are allowed to be themselves such as when they were left alone in the house and they constantly had ice scream everyday, or when curiosity got the best of Almanzo a few times and few times he had a brush in with death. The Ingalls girls, on the other hand, seemed a little too perfect.
I think one of main themes is the dependency on one another to keep things running smoothly, and importance of getting along.
This is completely third person point of view, from Almanzo's side. It can be seen as a stand alone book and previous two or one books aren't required reading. (Some editions say this is a third book, others say this is a second book.)
Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder (February 7, 1867 – February 10, 1957) was an American author who wrote the Little House series of books based on her childhood in a pioneer family. Laura's daughter, Rose, inspired Laura to write her books. (from wikipedia)
This book can be seen as opposite of Little House books. While Little House books focus on the Ingalls moving from one place to another in matter of every few years, this focuses on a family that's well established and possibly lived in New York for countless generations. This is the New York before immigrations. Also, unlike Little House books, this is from a little boy's perspective and his desire to break horses. It focuses on a year in Almanzo's life and also gives a season of stability and of a farming season. I do wish more could have been written about him, probably why he left New York and how things were like for them. It does set a few things up; one is Royal's desire to be a shop-keeper. (In Long Winter, if I recall right, Royal and Almanzo ended up being shop keepers.)
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)