Prairie Willow

Prairie Willow

by Maxine Trottier, Laura Fernandez, Rick Jacobson
     
 

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Selected as a Starred Book for the 1998/99 Our Choice Awards by the Canadian Children's Book Centre.

Short listed for the Ruth Schwartz award 1999

Notable Book, Social Studies, Children's Books Council Children's Choice selection, Children's Book Council and International Reading Association

Emily's weeping willow becomes a living symbol

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Overview

Selected as a Starred Book for the 1998/99 Our Choice Awards by the Canadian Children's Book Centre.

Short listed for the Ruth Schwartz award 1999

Notable Book, Social Studies, Children's Books Council Children's Choice selection, Children's Book Council and International Reading Association

Emily's weeping willow becomes a living symbol of the warmth, strength, and history shared by generations of one family.

When Emily's family moves to the ocean of grass called the prairie, she can't help but dream of trees. After building their sod house, ploughing, planting and then harvesting, her Papa tells her there is a little money left over to get something special from the mail-order catalogue. She chooses a willow tree. The Prairie Willow chronicles the life of this little girl and her pioneering family.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This achingly beautiful story of a young girl and her pioneer family evokes the vastness of the land, the whisper of the wind and the promise and hope of people who settled the endless prairie. Maxine Trottier's lyric prose captures the rhythm of the seasons and of life itself."
Starred ReviewQuill & Quire
Children's Literature - Cathy Greenwood
Little Emily and her parents are homesteaders who travel West and start building their new life in a sod house with fields planted behind a horse-drawn plow. Simple text accompanies illustrations that are rich in the colors of the prairie and full of the activities of these hard-working immigrants. The struggles of everyday tasks are balanced by family cohesion and the joy that Emily's willow tree brings. The little seedling sprouts and grows over the years into the family's tree-a symbol of her family's history of endurance, love and courage.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3--Emily and her family move West to become homesteaders. The open spaces and the prairie grasses remind the girl of an ocean. She dreams of trees. When there is money leftover from the first harvest, her father asks her what they need. She knows right away--a tree. In the spring, her willow tree arrives and is planted. Years pass, the tree blossoms, and Emily grows old. Through all the changes in her life, the willow remains strong, solid, and reassuring. Rich paintings in warm, earthy tones fill double- and single-page spreads. Although the quality of the illustrations varies, the majority of them are filled with light and convey the robust flavor of life on the prairie. The story, however, shifts tone rather abruptly midstream, as the leisurely, lyrical descriptions of prairie life give way to a hurried account of Emily's later life. Despite the slightly stilted plot development and the irregular quality of the illustrations, the book would be a worthwhile addition to picture books on the Western experience. Brett Harvey's My Prairie Year (Holiday, 1986) and Jean Van Leeuwen's Going West (Dial, 1992) present richer accounts of life on the prairie, but Trottier creates some compelling images in her portrayal of a woman as deeply rooted to the prairie as the willow tree that is her constant comfort in a world of change.--Carolyn Stacey, Jefferson County Public Library, Golden, CO
Kirkus Reviews
This soulful and melancholy tale from Trottier is nevertheless light on its worldly feet. It is the story of a family settling on the great Canadian prairie: Mama, Papa, Emily, and baby Jack. As they make their mark on the homestead, and when a little extra cash is available, Papa lets Emily decide what to spend it on. A willow is ordered and planted; it measures their days as it grows, is head high when the children first go to school, offers shade when Jack goes off to war, and serves as sanctuary when the telegram arrives that tells them that Jack has died for his country. Life goes on for Emily. She inherits the farm, regales her grandchildren with stories of the early years, and as an old woman, dreams of seeing Jack in the distance and goes to join him. Handsome, moody illustrations give this story its strong sense of place and convey the coursing of time. But despite the lulling interludes, Trottier pulls no punches: Emily is not spared life's many stings, and readers will feel those stings, as well. (Picture book. 5-8)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780773761001
Publisher:
Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Limited
Publication date:
01/01/1999
Pages:
22
Product dimensions:
11.02(w) x 8.08(h) x 0.07(d)
Age Range:
5 - 10 Years

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