Prairie Friends

Prairie Friends

by Nancy Smiler Levinson, Stacey Schuett

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Betsy loves the prairie, but it is a lonely place. When a family moves nearby, Betsy can't wait to make friends with the new girl, Emmeline. But Emmeline misses the city. Can Betsy help her learn to love her new home?

Ages 2 – 4


Betsy loves the prairie, but it is a lonely place. When a family moves nearby, Betsy can't wait to make friends with the new girl, Emmeline. But Emmeline misses the city. Can Betsy help her learn to love her new home?

Ages 2 – 4

Editorial Reviews

ALA Booklist
"A good choice for beginning readers who need a little challenge."
Children's Literature
It is a lonely life out in America's prairies, in this story of more than a century and a half ago. Betsy feels it most keenly, because there are no girls her age nearby. When a new family moves in she hopes for the best and makes a corn husk doll as a gift. Emmeline arrives, but isn't very happy as Betsy tries to make friends. The girls end up getting lost which causes suspense. Betsy's knowledge of the prairie saves the day and it all ends happily. A note at the end offers background information about prairie life and how important it was for people to gather together, sharing friendship, work and food. A good story for home or school. Part of the "An I Can Read Book" series for those kids who enjoy reading independently. 2003, HarperCollins,
— Marilyn Courtot <%ISBN%>0060280018
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-Betsy lives with her family on the Nebraska prairie. The adults and children on the widely scattered farms look forward to periodic get-togethers, such as the husking bee described in the first chapter, but Betsy pines for a friend. Then, a new family relocates nearby. The Fitzroys have moved from the city, and their daughter, Emmeline, is Betsy's age. In anticipation of the girl's arrival, Betsy eagerly makes her a cornhusk doll, but Emmeline doesn't seem to like it; in fact, she seems cold and unfriendly. Betsy soon discovers that the girl is simply having a hard time adjusting to her new home. Levinson evokes prairie life with a few well-chosen details. Settlers exchange gifts of buffaloberry jam, plum pudding, and candles, while the children amuse themselves with simple games. Betsy's family lives in a sod cabin; their new neighbors settle into a dugout. Colorful artwork on every page adds to the appeal of this easy-reader. Children will empathize with Betsy's longing for a friend, and enjoy this glimpse of pioneer life.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Betsy and her family live on the Nebraska prairie in this idyllic story of friendship. She is lonely because there are no girls her age to play with. When her father tells her about a new family, she hopes for a new friend. When she meets Mr. Fitzroy, her hopes are raised to hear he has a daughter, Emmeline, just about Betsy�s age. Betsy makes Emmeline a cornhusk doll, but is disappointed by her unenthusiastic response to the gift. Turns out that Emmeline is from St. Paul, and misses her porcelain dolls and all the toys she had to sell to move to Nebraska. The two girls get lost while berry-picking, and have to rely on Betsy�s understanding of the prairie, including her knowledge that sandhill cranes will lead them to the creek near home. The adventure solidifies their friendship in an all�s-well-that-ends-well conclusion. Much is left from the text: exactly when does this story take place? Why do they live so far from neighbors? What are the families doing in Nebraska? How do the families react to the girls� disappearance? An author�s note fills in some of the blanks, but the information seems incomplete. Levinson mentions the differences between dugouts and soddies, but the illustrations and story have little to do with housing. No mention is made of the sandhill cranes, though most young readers will know little of their habits. For a more poignant and informative historical fiction about prairie life, friendship, and loneliness, refer to Eve Bunting�s Dandelions. (Easy reader. 5-8)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
I Can Read Book 3 Series
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x (h) x (d)
480L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Nancy Smiler Levinson has written many popular books for young readers, including Magellan and the First Voyange Around the World and the I Can Read Books Clara and the Bookwagon, illustrated by Carolyn Croll, and Snowshoe Thompson, illustrated by Joan Sandin. She lives in Beverly Hills, California.

Stacey Schuett's artwork graces numerous picture books, including the I Can Read Book Forest by Laura Godwin and her own Somewhere in theWorld Right Now, a Reading Rainbow Book. Ms. Schuett lives in Sebastopol, California.

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