What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there's little to worry about in Prairie Evers, a gem of a novel with a fresh perspective, interesting characters (humans and chickens), and appealing messages of family love, friendship, and seeing things from other people's point of view. Thanks to the strong foundation she's had from her beloved grandmother and her understanding parents, 10-year-old Prairie is both a true original and a good person -- even her missteps with those she loves come from good intentions. A violent incident in the past, in which a classmate's mother killed the girl's father in a drunken fight, leaves scars on the survivors; two baby chicks don't survive their first few days on the farm, though the others grow up strong and healthy.
What's the story?
Ten-year-old Prairie Evers is having a tough year. Her family's moved from the mountains of North Carolina, where she's been homeschooled by her wise grandmother, to the farm in New Paltz, N.Y., where her mom grew up. Worse, her grandmother's going back to North Carolina, and it soon turns out that the smart, independent Prairie has to go to regular school for the first time in her life. But there are upsides, starting with the chickens she decides to raise, who become a never-ending source of entertainment, especially when she brings one of them to Show and Tell. Also, for the first time in her life, she has a best friend, which brings both new happiness and new problems to solve.
Is it any good?
Not only is author Ellen Airgood an excellent writer, she brings to life characters and situations that kids and adults will immediately relate to. Homeschooled Prairie is mature for her age, an excellent problem-solver, and has no trouble keeping up in school, but doesn't always understand her best friend Ivy. As the story unfolds, she, Ivy, and the various adults all learn about dealing with the past, living in the present, and looking toward a brighter future.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how both kids and adults in Prairie Evers discover that other people have qualities they may not have seen before.
What makes Prairie a strong character? Can you think of other books with strong girl characters?
Do you think Prairie handles the rude ladies in the coffee shop well? If you heard a conversation of strangers insulting your family, how would you have handled the situation differently?