In this novel Laura Ingalls Wilder recounts the boyhood adventures of Almanzo Wilder, who later in life became her husband. It is the 1800's and Almanzo and his family are living on a prosperous farm in Malone, New York. It is winter time and the New York winters are notoriously cold. Nine year old Almanzo must endure the long, frigid one and a half mile walk to the schoolhouse with his older brother Royal and his two older sisters, Eliza Jane and Alice. Although Almanzo isn't fond of school, he realizes that getting his education is a necessary tool in life. Almanzo tries to hide his fears the older Hardscrabble Settlement boys arrive at the school to make trouble for the new teacher, Mr. Corse. Almanzo and his siblings help out around the farm doing chores such as feeding the livestock, milking the cows, mucking out the stalls and cleaning out the barns. Almanzo's father teaches him the importance of honesty, patience, integrity and the value of a hard day's work. The novel takes the reader through the various seasons and demonstrates the various aspects of keeping a farm running all year round. Whether it is picking ice from the river for storage or aiding with the summer harvesting, the entire Wilder clan works together to keep their farm prosperous. It is at dinnertime that the Wilder clan gathers together at the table and enjoy's mother's wonderful home cooking. Almanzo is a bit of a dreamer. His most fervent desire is to break in one of his father's Morgan colts. Almanzo's father has warned him against trying to break in one of the colts due to his inexperience and the dangers involved in the process. Although Almanzo practices breaking in his two calves Star and Bright, he is tempted by the wild, beautiful horses. When Almanzo learns the value of honoring his promise to his father, he is rewarded for his integrity with a gift beyond his wildest dreams.
This report prepared by Sandra Calhoune