By Mary Eisenhart,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Great novel about a girl, her chickens, and her best friend.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
When Prairie decides to raise chickens, she goes to the library and finds out everything she can before she orders the chicks. Besides learning about the care of chickens (and good research skills), readers will learn about nature, wild animals, folk music, and history -- most eloquently, the Cherokee Trail of Tears.
The strong, loving bonds of Prairie's family are seen in many ways, not only in how they survive life's ups and downs themselves by always being there for each other, but in how starkly the happy Evers family contrasts with Ivy's bleak, unloving home life. Lots of other positive lessons for kids and adults in the story: making the best of new situations, being responsible for your animals, being true to yourself, and also being a true friend.
Positive Role Models
Both Prairie and Ivy are positive characters while also individual and human enough to be engaging and credible; they're bright, kindhearted, and reveal new depths as the story progresses. Prairie's Southern grandmother and free-spirited parents may draw snooty remarks from some of their neighbors, but their quiet humor and wisdom lead by example as well as by word.
Violence & Scariness
Early in her school career, socially clueless Prairie runs afoul of a pack of mean girls and narrowly escapes getting beaten. One of her classmates eventually reveals a dark family secret: when she was 5 years old, her mother killed her father in a drunken fight. Elsewhere in the story, when the baby chicks first arrive, despite Prairie's best efforts not all of them survive.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
The clerk at the feed store is embarrassed at having to explain to Prairie why many people don't want a rooster with their hens because of the fertilized-egg issue.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Prairie's father still smokes in the morning, even though she's trying to talk him out of it.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
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. After moving from North Carolina, where she was homeschooled, to a farm in New Paltz, New York, 10-year-old Prairie must adjust to life in a regular school. Thanks to the strong foundation she's had from her beloved grandmother and her understanding parents, 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.
Where to Read
Based on 1 parent review
Report this review
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 was homeschooled by her wise grandmother, to the farm in New Paltz, New York, 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.
Talk to Your Kids 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?
- Author: Ellen Airgood
- Genre: Friendship
- Topics: Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, History, Horses and Farm Animals
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
- Publication date: May 24, 2012
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 17
- Number of pages: 215
- Last updated: July 12, 2017
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Read
Our Editors Recommend
Books with Strong Female Characters
50 Books All Kids Should Read Before They're 12
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate