Prairie Evers

Overview

This charming, coming-of-age story is perfect for fans of Joan Bauer and Sheila Turnage.

Prairie Evers is finding that school isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. She’s always been homeschooled by her grandmother, learning about life while they ramble through the woods. But now Prairie’s family has moved north and she has to attend school for the first time, where her education is in a classroom and the behavior of her classmates isn’t very nice. The only good thing is meeting Ivy, ...

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Prairie Evers

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Overview

This charming, coming-of-age story is perfect for fans of Joan Bauer and Sheila Turnage.

Prairie Evers is finding that school isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. She’s always been homeschooled by her grandmother, learning about life while they ramble through the woods. But now Prairie’s family has moved north and she has to attend school for the first time, where her education is in a classroom and the behavior of her classmates isn’t very nice. The only good thing is meeting Ivy, her first true friend. Prairie wants to be a good friend, even though she can be clueless at times. But when Ivy’s world is about to fall apart and she needs a friend most, Prairie is right there for her, corralling all her optimism and determination to hatch a plan to help.

Wonderful writing and an engaging narrator distinguish this lively story that celebrates friendship of every kind. 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In adult author Airgood's (South of Superior) upbeat first novel for children, she introduces irrepressible Prairie Evers, a 10-year-old country girl whose skill at turning bad situations into good ones is as impressive as the size of her heart. After moving from North Carolina to rural New York, Prairie dreads attending school and sorely misses her grandmother, who decided to return to North Carolina shortly after the move. Having been home-schooled previously, Prairie doesn't like the idea of being "caged" with classmates ("I wasn't much used to children and I didn't believe I'd like them"), and she fears she'll be at the bottom of the "pecking order." Her first few weeks at school are rough, but Prairie has loving parents and a brood of chickens waiting for her at home. Another outsider at school, Ivy Blake, isn't so lucky, and when Prairie offers to be her friend, both girls find that they can accomplish all kinds of "impossible" feats with a little determination. Sprinkled with comforting words of advice from Prairie's practical-minded grandmother, the book radiates warmth and wisdom. Ages 8–12. Agent: Joy Harris Literary Agency. (May)
Booklist
"Issues of individuality, peer pressure, family support, and considering the feelings of others are all cogently addressed here. Those who miss Eva Ibbotson will find comfort in Airgood’s world."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
“The situation will intrigue kids, who will understand the specter of outsiderdom; the book also compellingly explores Prairie’s navigation of the ins and outs of a first best-friendship. . . . Ivy’s tough family life may also strike a chord with kids in similarly bleak positions . . . both compassionate and authentically complex.”
Library Media Connection
“Heartwarming. . . . Uplifting story with strength in characters, setting, and, especially, Prairie’s voice. Readers will love Prairie’s independent spirit and care about her relationships.”
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—After moving with her parents and grandmother from the mountains of North Carolina to upstate New York, 10-year-old Prairie Evers is adjusting to life on the farm her mother inherited. When her grandmother decides to move back home, Prairie is heartbroken. Not only has Grammy been her teacher all her young life, but she is also her best friend. Things get even worse when her mother takes a job and Prairie must go to school for the first time in her life. She dislikes being in a classroom from the very beginning. She doesn't like the bus, the noise, and the chaos of being surrounded by so many other children. Prairie would much rather be spending her days with the chickens she is raising on the farm. Then she meets Ivy Blake, her first true friend. When she learns that Ivy has been harboring a dark secret and has a terrible home life, Prairie is determined to help. The Evers invite the quiet girl into their home, and Prairie discovers that sharing her family isn't as easy as she thought it would be. With Prairie, Airgood has created a bright, spunky, independent thinker who traverses the ups and downs of friendship with optimism and loyalty. The text is smart, with plenty of challenging vocabulary and accurate information about types of chickens and the procedures involved in raising them. This is a great book to recommend to readers who like a lively heroine and an intelligent, refreshing, and unpretentious plot.—D. Maria LaRocco, Cuyahoga Public Library, OH
Kirkus Reviews
This easygoing, earnest story of friendship and family is set in upstate New York, but its heart is nestled deep in the mountains of North Carolina. Ten-year-old Prairie Evers and her family have relocated from North Carolina to a farm in upstate New York, and now her Grammy, who has homeschooled Prairie all her life, has decided to return to the mountains, at least for a while. Spunky Prairie decides to fill the void her Grammy leaves behind with a flock of chickens. Soon, her parents have enrolled her in school, and Prairie has made her first real nonfeathered friend. The budding relationship between Prairie and Ivy is at the heart of this slightly offbeat, yet gratifying tale. Observing the lack of warmth between Ivy and her mother, Prairie soon learns the tragic family secrets behind the mother and daughter's rocky relationship, and she is determined to try to help her friend find happiness. Short chapters and Prairie's spirited narration drive the story forward. Next to Prairie, Grammy is the most interesting and well-drawn character, and readers will miss her as much as Prairie does while she's away in the mountains. Thoughtful readers will no doubt sympathize with Prairie's feelings of loneliness and celebrate the new friendship she finds, even--or perhaps especially--when it gets complicated. (Fiction. 9-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142426685
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 9/4/2014
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 842,836
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Ellen Airgood grew up on a small farm, and for the past nineteen years she and her husband have run a diner together in a small town in Michigan. Her adult novel, South of Superior, was published to much acclaim. Prairie Evers is her first children’s book. She lives in Grand Marais, Michigan. 

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