Thursday, September 6, 2012

Reading Now: Farmer Boy Goes West by Heather Williams

Almanzo Wilder is going west! He and his family are moving all the way from their cozy farm in Malone, New York, to the bustling town of Spring Valley, Minnesota. Almanzo can’t wait to explore, but life in Spring Valley isn’t what he expected. The Wilders have to stay with relatives in a small, cramped house where Almanzo’s aunt Martha is cold and unfriendly. Almanzo longs for the freedom he had back home, and he especially misses his horse, Starlight. Even as he makes new friends at school and helps his father pick a plot of land for the family to settle on, Almanzo can’t help but wonder: Is Minnesota the right place for the Wilders? Or do they belong in New York? First introduced in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s classic Little House book Farmer Boy, Almanzo Wilder’s adventures continue in Farmer Boy Goes West.

A couple of my Little House friends and I are reading this book together. It ends up being an online book club, where we talk about the book we're reading, and in this case, discuss how the fiction differs from the history.

We're two chapters in right now. Almanzo's parents have decided to visit Mother's brother, Uncle George, and his new wife in Spring Valley. Father wonders if they should move west too. Almanzo is excited to go, but he is sad he must leave his beloved horse, Starlight, at home. Royal and Eliza Jane will stay in New York and take care of the farm, while Father and Mother, Alice, Almanzo and little Perley make the long trip.

I'm enjoying this book so far, but it's odd to have a sequel coming so many years after the original--and by a different author. Luckily, the author is a Laura fan, so she is writing in a style that captures the essence of Laura Ingalls Wilder's work.

A full review will follow.

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