Thursday, October 18, 2012

Marvelous Michigan Month: Prairie Evers

I am particularly excited about today's review for Marvelous Michigan Month.  This is one of the books that inspired putting together this feature, along with Haylee's Treasure (among others).  This author is actually one of my patrons!  I have not had the opportunity to meet her yet, as her local library is one of our rural branches/outposts.  I do look forward to doing so sometime, though, be it at a library or at the cafe she and her husband operate.

Let me tell you about Prairie Evers by Ellen Airgood.

Michigan connection: Ms. Airgood is a Michigan author.
Checkouts: Coming soon to both libraries
Typical reader: Farm-raised, home-schooled, and previously home-schooled children would likely get the most enjoyment out of this novel.  It's also great for kids who have had to, or will have to, move to a new town and school.
Source: Snowbound Books

Synopsis: This is the story of a tumultuous year in the life of young Prairie Evers, who moved to a farm in upstate New York and will no longer be home-schooled by her beloved grandmother, a former school teacher.  She feels like her chickens: cooped up and subject to the pecking order of the school her parents send her to.  But she will make a friend, and learn much about life.

My Goodreads rating: 5 stars

This is such a nice, sweet book.  If you're looking for a feel-good book that still does have problems for the characters to face, this is a good choice.

The eponymous protagonist of the novel is smart, kind, thoughtful, and spunky.  She's pretty resistant to change, though.  This provides the conflict of the novel, when her grandmother, who has been her teacher and closest friend, decides that life on the farm in New York isn't for her, and moves back to North Carolina.  Her parents are willing to finish out the school year at home before sending Prairie to school, but between needing to make ends meet and some wicked town gossip, Prairie must face the music and go to the dreaded public school instead of staying home all day with her new flock of chickens.

This is a good book for both sides of the argument on homeschooling versus conventional schooling.  There are pros and cons to each, and even young Prairie can see and contemplate that.  She had a good case for homeschooling in North Carolina, being far from the school and having a trained teacher available to educate her.  But in New York, she will learn that going to school has such benefits as being part of society and making friends.

The friendship with Ivy is the real adventure.  Prairie never really had an opportunity to make friends her own age before, so this is totally new to her.  There are ups and downs, and Ivy certainly has problems of her own to deal with, but Prairie is a determined optimist who wants everything to turn out right.

This is a great book for upper elementary students.

UPDATE: A few hours after I posted this review, I cataloged and processes two copies of this book for the school/public library.  When I said it was coming soon, I didn't think I meant today!  :)

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