Farmer Boy, Chapter 21

Social Studies
County Fair 
The Wilder family was going to a county fair. Every one dressed in their Sunday best and brought something to show at the fair. Why do you think they looked at the county fair as such a special occasion? During the 1800’s people were very busy and they often lived far from each other. There was not a lot of time or ability to socialize with others. Every year they could look forward to this special occasion, meeting up with people they haven’t seen in a while, entering contests, and showing off their handiwork. What were some of the things the Wilders brought to the fair? A box of pickles, jellies, and preserves, woolwork embroidery, and Almanzo’s milk fed pumpkin were among the items. What kind of games did they play at the fair? The game of “pea under the shell” was played. Almanzo was certain that he knew which shell the pea was under.

It may be fun while sharing this chapter to put on your own county fair. Make up prize ribbons. You can pretend to train your stuffed animals to do tricks. Have a sack race, pie-eating contest, or show off your biggest zucchinis or pumpkins to win prizes.

Human Relationships - Being a Good Loser 
When the judge picked winners, Almanzo noticed that the people who got lesser prizes all congratulated the winner. This is called being a good sport. If Almanzo’s pumpkin had lost, he would have to be a good sport, or a good loser, too. If you are a good loser you realize that you can’t win all the time. A good loser also knows that losing doesn’t make you a bad person any more than winning makes you a good person. A good loser will lose graciously and will congratulate the person who won, making the winner feel as though they did well and deserved to win. The opposite of a good loser is a bad loser or a bad sport. Have you ever played a game with someone who got very upset about losing, sometimes even pouting, crying, or throwing a tantrum because they lost? That is what a bad loser does. They make a winner feel bad for winning, and will sometimes even lie or cheat to avoid losing. When you are playing a game or enter a contest, make sure to remember to be a good loser (or winner!) or people won’t want to play with you again.

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