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Friday, May 11, 2012
PRAIRIE EVERS Will Be Here Soon
On my kitchen wall hang dreams
I first got the ARC for this book, last year, word was it would not be released
until September 2012, and I felt unjustly thwarted and hindered—very huffy
indeed.. Everyone loved Ellen Airgood’s 2011 novel, South of Superior, and I wanted her new book for
my summer bookshop season! So now, good news: I have my first copies on back
order, and they should arrive before the end of this month. Yes! By Memorial
Day, Prairie Evers
should be in Northport.
one is a middle-grade novel, especially appropriate for 8- to 12-year-olds, but
I know many adults will enjoy it as much as I do. Yes, I am ten years old at
heart. What of it? I’m presently reading Prairie Evers for the second time. More and
more adults lately are reading YA novels in general, it seems. But I
Don't you love this book cover?
new young character has always been home-schooled by a beloved grandmother, but
when the family moves north to the place where her mother grew up, Grammy is
homesick and decides to return to North Carolina. This is the girl’s first
trial in her new life. Then they are the gossipers in the town diner, who think
her father is nothing but a poor “dirt-poor hillbilly.” And these busy-bodies
can’t even get her name right. It’s Prairie, not Meadow! Prairie’s
parents plan is to make their living from the old farm, plus their
crafts—quilts and birdhouses--and even Prairie can see that this will “take a
lot of doing.” So her idea to cure her own homesickness and lonesomeness also
involves making money. She decides she will raise chickens and sell eggs,
her parents throw her another curve ball, telling her she will be going to
regular school in New Paltz. Can anything be worse than this? There is nothing
about fifth grade that Prairie likes. Not the school bus, certainly, or the
crowd of children, and especially not having to sit in a desk all day long.
Evers, like South
introduces ordinary people struggling to make ends meet and find their places
in a community. Will life ever become “easy” for Prairie Evers? (Is “easy” a
realistic or desirable life goal?) The course of this story, like real life,
presents surprises and challenges for the main character, and the last pages,
also like life, leave a few questions about Prairie’s future, rather than tying
everything up in one big, tidy bow, and I like it all the better for that. The
shape and trajectory are clear, and the conclusions satisfying.
don’t get the oil changed,” Prairie’s Grammy always said. You might say that Prairie’s
year in fifth grade, with all its ups and downs, is one in which she learns a
lot about changing the oil. And since it’s a lesson most of us have to relearn
many times in the course of our lives, we chart her progress with sympathy and
A beautiful breed
Yes, I love the chickens in the story, too. But you knew that, didn't you?