Prairie Evers Book Poster Image

Prairie Evers



Great novel about a girl, her chickens, and her best friend.

What parents need to know

Educational value

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.

Positive messages

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.

Not applicable

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.

Parents say

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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?

Book details

Author:Ellen Airgood
Topics:Friendship, Great girl role models, History, Horses and farm animals, Misfits and underdogs
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Nancy Paulsen Books
Publication date:May 24, 2012
Number of pages:215
Publisher's recommended age(s):8 - 17

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Kid, 9 years old August 8, 2012

This is a wonderful book.

It's like spying on main character, Prairie Evers' life. I personally know the author, and she was originally going to have this book to be for adults.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models