Friday, May 22, 2020

Review: Prairie Days by Patricia MacLachlan

by Patricia MacLachlan
Illustrated by Micha Archer
Margaret K McElderry Books
Picture Books
40 pages
ages 4 to 8

MAY 26th!!!

A delicate, stunning account of life on the prairie from Newbery medalist Patricia MacLachlan.

Cool summer mornings begin with the rose orange sun and the smell of earth, and fade into hot summer nights with a yellow moon, covered in a quilt of stars. There are wagon rides, farm dogs, trips into town, and games of kick the can. These are prairie days.

Patricia MacLachlan applies her lyrical, sparse voice and vibrant, tender art from Micha Archer to transport readers to the prairie of her youth in this stunning celebration of the beauty in the world.

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The comforting past of growing up on a farm delivers a sense of warmth, comfort and relaxation.

This book is told from a narrator's perspective, one who grew up on a farm and reflects on how life was as a child during that time. While starting at the farmhouse and flower-filled setting, the tale glides through what a day might have looked like for a child in the summer months (away from school) and offers a glimpse at those experiences in an inviting way.

The writing is almost poetic as the book follows the summer life of a farm child. The atmosphere is calm and displays the simple life, which is mostly brought outdoors until the end of the day. It is a lovely way to introduce listeners to growing up on a farm and give a peek at what life was like without falling into a heavier history lesson. This book will especially have an impact if read by an adult who had these are similar experiences themselves, since it will create a special bond and also allows the chance to open discussions on how things were.

The illustrations are my favorite part of this book. The mood comes across wonderfully, while allowing important details not to be forgotten. It is artistic and yet, portrays reality nicely, so listeners have the chance to visualize the life being portrayed. I was a bit disappointed that some terms mentioned in the text weren't identified with some sort of tags in the illustrations, since several items will not be familiar to listeners or necessarily, the readers (flower types, birds, etc).

For anyone wanting to expose the younger generation to the experiences of growing up on a farm in years past, this is a lovely book to grab up. It is nicely written, a joy to flip through, and simply a comforting read.

And here they are...

The Author...
Patricia MacLachlan is the author of many well-loved novels and picture books, including Sarah, Plain and Tall, winner of the Newbery Medal; its sequels, Skylark and Caleb’s StoryEdward’s EyesThe True GiftWaiting for the MagicWhite Fur Flying; and Fly Away. She lives in western Massachusetts.

The Illustrator...
Micha Archer illustrated The Wise FoolLola’s Fandango, and Prairie Days, and wrote and illustrated Daniel Finds a Poem. Working in collage and oil, her use of color and pattern is influenced by the folk art, crafts, and architecture of the countries she has visited and lived in. She realized the importance of the book as a teaching tool after teaching kindergarten and raising two children. Micha divides her time between Costa Rica and western Massachusetts, where she lives in the house she and her husband built, surrounded by gardens and forest to roam in.

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