Prairie Primer: A to Z


Join a young boy for a year on the prairie. From A to Z, each letter brings to life elements of days gone by--J for Jacks, K for Knickers, and L for Lunch pails packed for school. With a lyrical text and rich illustrations, this is a wonderful way to learn the alphabet and a heart-warming tribute to life at the start of the twentieth century.

"A pleasing picture book for introducing today's children to ...
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Join a young boy for a year on the prairie. From A to Z, each letter brings to life elements of days gone by--J for Jacks, K for Knickers, and L for Lunch pails packed for school. With a lyrical text and rich illustrations, this is a wonderful way to learn the alphabet and a heart-warming tribute to life at the start of the twentieth century.

"A pleasing picture book for introducing today's children to another time, another place." --Booklist

Life on the prairie is depicted in this rhyming alphabet book.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Stutson (By the Light of the Halloween Moon) and Lamb (My Great-Aunt Arizona) put the alphabet through its paces as they apply a rose-colored lens to the rural Midwest at the turn of the century. Some letters recall items specific to the period ("Irons" heated on a stove; a spinning "Teetotum" toy; a "Velocipede"); other key words represent familiar objects in bygone contexts ("Umbrellas" provide cover from sunshine; "Eggs" are collected from the family's hen). Other entries, however, are relegated to obvious, ho-hum generalities belonging to no time or place in particular ("Alphabet"; "House"; "another Year"). Rhyming couplets link the scenes, also depicting a beatific way of life that makes the Little House books seem angst-ridden by comparison. Lamb's joyful, nostalgic illustrations, sweetly lit, exhibit a sartorial sensibility that will have special appeal for the paper-doll set. However, from the uninspiring text to the overrefined illustrations, this prairie primer lies somewhere between prairie prosaic and prairie precious. Ages 3-7. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
The bright blue prairie sky next to brilliant yellow-orange fields on the cover of this book welcomes the reader to a time gone by. Kids might recognize the word kazoo, that appears for the letter K. However, they probably never played with (or even heard of) a teetotum or a velocipede before. Children will soon discover these long-ago toys. The rhyming text gently travels through the alphabet featuring words typical of the midwest at the turn of the century. The soft, delicate illustrations sweetly portray the rural life of a joyful, young family in this period piece.
School Library Journal
PreS-KAs dawn spreads its warm, soft light across the quiet fields and house of an isolated farm, a young boy wakes in his room to study his alphabet primer. From this beginning to a day's end one year later, the brief, rhyming text explores the letters he studies as they relate to life on the farm. Chores, school, church, field workall mark the passage of time and the journey from A to Z. Each large, upper-case letter is set within a framed, egglike oval and also appears capitalized in the nouns and verbs that illustrate its use. Velocipede, Whirligig, and Zipped are words from another era that young children will enjoy trying to pronounce. Full-bleed illustrations done in soft hues of blue, green, and yellow capture a simpler, gentler time. The full- and two-page scenes feature remnants of early farm lifebutter churns, ladies at a sewing bee. The artist's use of light to depict time of day and to focus the eye is beautifully done. Most successful are the quiet landscapes that provide a sense of place. A few of the figures appear stiff, but others add a sense of gaiety and humor to the scenes. Two similar alphabet books, Jim Aylesworth's The Folks in the Valley (HarperCollins, 1994) and Jo Bannatyne-Cugnet's A Prairie Alphabet (Tundra, 1992), have rhyming texts and farm settings, but different styles and formats. Stutson's title is a pleasant step back in time.Paula A. Kiely, Milwaukee Public Library, WI
Kirkus Reviews
Stutson's rhyming alphabet book works its way over the prairie landscape. The time is early this century; the setting is a homesteader's handsome manse. These are drowsy days, the chores none too taxing, every neighbor and creature an amiable soul. "I two Irons growing hot/breakfast porridge in the pot/When bowls are cleared away . . ./J a game of Jacks we play." Some will say that Stutson (By the Light of the Halloween Moon, 1993) has stripped the homesteader's life of its drama and heroism—a denaturalization process attended by Lamb's misty, sentimental illustrations. Story, setting, and characters are highly romanticized, and this paean is nothing if not harmonious: "H the House that calls us in/`Coming! Coming!' we all sing,/on the porch for one last swing." It's extremely old-fashioned in sensibility and may not find an audience among the rough-and-ready preschool set.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525451631
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/28/1996
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 12.11 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.42 (d)

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