Prairie Town

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During the early 1900s, railroad companies laid tracks across America's open land. In fields of grass beside the new tracks prairie towns grew. The towns prospered amid the golden wheat fields, and grain elevators dominated the skyline. Bonnie Geisert's clear text explores the social and economic life of one of these towns, while the dramas of everyday life can be experienced in Arthur Geisert's panoramic hand-colored etchings. Here is a fascinating view of life in a thriving midwestern town, told with respect ...

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Overview

During the early 1900s, railroad companies laid tracks across America's open land. In fields of grass beside the new tracks prairie towns grew. The towns prospered amid the golden wheat fields, and grain elevators dominated the skyline. Bonnie Geisert's clear text explores the social and economic life of one of these towns, while the dramas of everyday life can be experienced in Arthur Geisert's panoramic hand-colored etchings. Here is a fascinating view of life in a thriving midwestern town, told with respect and affection for the resilient townspeople, as they work and play, their lives directly affected by the changing seasons.

Describes a year in the life of a prairie town including the effect of seasons and of economics on the ebb and flow of this agricultural community.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The Geiserts once again pay homage to the American heartland in this handsome, timeless book.
Publishers Weekly, Starred

Young readers will want to return again and again to this bird's-eye view of small town life, as they follow the changing seasons through the year.
School Library Journal

The Geiserts observe and evoke the pace and rhythms of life in a prairie town with abundant affection. Kirkus Reviews

The horizontal orientation of Geisert's etchings, coupled with frequent use of two-page spreads, helps to put the growth and life of a prairie town in clear visual relation to the vastness of the surrounding plains.
The Five Owls

Children's Literature - Cheryl Peterson
In the early 1900's, railroad companies laid tracks across America's prairies. Towns sprung up along the tracks and grew and prospered. This is a look at a year in the life of a Midwestern town told with simple text and wonderfully detailed illustrations. The town and its farm neighbors are economic partners, and the illustrations give a panoramic view of everyday dramas that frequently occur-a burning house, a runaway cow, a lumber spill. Pumpkins are harvested in the fall and new puppies are born in the spring.
Children's Literature
A year in the life of a town out on the prairie amid the surrounding farms is explored in simple language, detailing the activities and interactions of the folks in the town and those on the farms earlier in the twentieth century. The bite of the etched lines of the metal plates in the original illustrations enhances the detailed scenes--long horizontals are filled with the scenes of farming and small town life; tints of color supply both decoration and a sense of reality. The final page lists some details to search out as readers re-examine the intricacies of the illustrations.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4The Geiserts present a year in the life of a small mid-western prairie town. In this accurate depiction, stories of everyday life unfold: houses are repaired, lawns are mowed, dying trees are pruned or removed, a junk-filled yard is cleaned up, a house is sold and a new family moves in, the school playground gains new equipment, someone gets a traffic ticket, a wedding takes place, a death is mourned, puppies are born...life goes on. The fascinating full-page illustrations provide minute details, while the clear, readable text explains in general terms the economic and social interdependence of the town and surrounding farms, and the influence of weather on the town's economic health. Young readers will want to return again and again to this bird's-eye view of small town life, as they follow the changing seasons through the year: spring plowing, summer grain harvest and the arrival of a circus, reopening of school and burning leaves in the fall, a winter blizzard. Small changes occur even as the town at first glance appears to stay the same. This colorful title captures the essence of the prairie as well as endangered small-town life.Eunice Weech, M. L. King Elementary School, Urbana, IL
Kirkus Reviews
This hawk's-eye view allows readers to circle over a small town during a year in which, at close inspection, apparently changeless streets and structures surrounded by flat horizons and "uninterrupted sky" yield up a host of stories, depicted in Lilliputian scale. Between one spring and the next, a carnival and a winter storm pass through, a house is trucked in whole, another is rebuilt after a fire, yards are cleaned, a wedding celebrated, a new tombstone placed in the cemetery, a jungle gym built on the playground behind the red brick school. Geisert uses ink and watercolor to achieve slightly finer detail than found in his etchings, in pictures that richly repay close inspection (but may not reward those seeking out his trademark pigs). However, the caption-like text can be eye-glazing and oddly phrased: "The town and its farm neighbors are economic and social partners. They provide goods and services for each other. The back yard is a favorite place where families extend their work and play." Still, the Geiserts observe and evoke the pace and rhythms of life in a prairie town with abundant affection. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395859070
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 3/28/1998
  • Series: Small Town U.S.A. Series
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: None
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 730L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 11.30 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Arthur Geisert's unique and exquisite etchings have been widely praised and exhibited at the Chicago Institute of Art, among other museums. His work is regularly selected for the Society of Illustrators', annual Original Art exhibition, and his illustrations are now being collected by the Dubuque Museum of Art. He lives in a converted bank in Bernard, Iowa.

Bonnie Geisert grew up on a farm near Cresbard, South Dakota, and her childhood adventures there inspired many of the events in her Prairie trilogy. Ms.Geisert now lives in a small town in northern Illinois, where she still revels in beautiful prairie winters.

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