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Little Blog on the Prairie [Kindle Edition]

Cathleen Davitt Bell
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Camp Frontier promises families the "thrill" of living like 1890s pioneers. Gen will be thrilled if she survives the summer stuck in a cabin with her family and no modern amenities. But ever the savvy teen, Gen sneaks in a phone and starts texting about camp life. Turns out, there are some good points-like the cute boy who lives in the next clearing. But when her texts go viral as a blog and a TV crew arrives, Gen realizes she may have just ruined the best vacation she's ever had.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–8—Imagine it is 1890. No iPods, no cell phones, no jeans or tank tops, no electricity, and no indoor plumbing. This is the life that Gen Welsh has to endure for the whole summer, since her mother has decided that the family's vacation will be at a frontier-living fantasy camp near Laramie, WY. When they arrive, all modern conveniences are taken away, but Gen is granted her one wish: Clearasil. Secretly she has hidden her new cell phone in the product's box, and uses it to text her friends back home. They use her messages to start a blog, which takes off and gets media attention. Meanwhile, back at camp, a first romance and a good, clean girl rivalry are bubbling among the milking of cows and clearing of forest. As the families make their way through a difficult season, the teens discover their strengths and weaknesses. This fast read is humorous and insightful, with realistic characters that are refreshingly well rounded. Bell has captured a 13-year-old's voice, making Gen's unlikely situation feel very real. A solid choice for collections serving tweens—Angela J. Reynolds, Annapolis Valley Regional Library, Bridgetown, NS, Canada
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

About the Author

CATHLEEN DAVITT BELL's first book for young readers was Slipping. She received her undergraduate degree from Barnard College and her MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and two children.

Product Details

  • File Size: 446 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; Reprint edition (May 24, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00509W8BK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #449,318 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful surprise February 26, 2011
What a delight! Here was a thoroughly modern, smart little girl, with an intact family and what seems to be a full social life, dragged by her family out of her comfortable existence and (with them) vacationing in a camp where the campers re-enact the 1890s prairie life so completely that they wear authentic clothes from head to toe and don't wear sunscreen (no mention was made of sanitary napkins, so one is forced to assume that the protagonist has not started her period yet, or the characters cheated there).

Through a cell phone she smuggled in, Gen Walsh starts texting her best friend about the conditions at camp, short, funny little messages that make light of her situations and the peculiarities of the other adults and children at the camp. Things get out of hand when her friend uses the texts to make a blog for a project, and the illusion of living in the past starts to crumble as the present begins to seep into the camp.

There is action, romance, conflict and lots of gentle and not-quite-gentle humor throughout the story. Best of all, the story models good relationships between siblings, friends, and family, including adults, without being preachy or stiff. The re-enactment details were well thought out and the reaction of our 13 year old protagonist to this facsimile of life on the prairie were well characterized. Several supporting characters add depth to the plot and by the end, all the stereotypes that children draw of people they have just met are torn down in such a way that both Gen and the reader learn something new about themselves.

My thirteen year old son saw me reading it, I recommended it, and much to my surprise, he is also gulping down the story and enjoying it. Ms. Davitt Bell has managed to write a female character engaging enough that an adolescent boy can get past the "girl cooties" of it all and enjoy her book. I'll be telling every young reader I know to find this book and read it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great characters make this one a winner July 19, 2010
It's the well developed characters that save this book from being just an ordinary formulaic story about teenagers forced to live without their technology. 13 year old Gen is a great character who is very believable as she goes from being totally self absorbed to making tentative forays into young adulthood. Typical 13 year old! Her parents and brother are nicely portrayed as well. Mom and Dad aren't perfect but their love for their children shines through, and Gen's growing relationship with her little brother was one of my favorite parts of the book.

There are some really funny moments in this book, and some poignant ones as Gen comes to look at her family in a whole new light. This one kind of stretches believability a bit. I don't know any family that can afford to totally disconnect from their lives for two whole months, and the speed in which Gen's minimal text messages turn into a national internet sensation seemed kind of a stretch. The only two characters that didn't work for me were the camp owners - they seemed more of a parody instead of real people. The inclusion of the competition aspect of the camp experience seemed rather pointless and only served to emphasize the camp owners' over the top goofy nature.

There's plenty for upper elementary school students and middle schoolers to enjoy here. Gen crushes on one of her fellow campers - not an easy thing to do when you haven't had a bath in two weeks and your stockings smell like pee! There's some intrigue and jealousy as well. Gen discovers that she's a lot stronger than she ever thought, and that not all beauty lies on the outside. Good solid lessons for anyone. Read this one for some good old fashioned storytelling with characters you won't soon forget. Recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life without a cell phone? Can you imagine? April 9, 2012
"Little Blog on the Prairie" by Cathleen Davitt Bell was my spring break reading. The book is about a 13 year old girl named Gen Welsh and her family vacation and all the people she meets while on vacation. Gen's mom took them on a vacation to Camp Frontier, where they had to dress in pioneer clothes (no Urban Outfitters!), milk cows, live like pioneer people in the 1800s. Gen did not want to go on this vacation since she would miss her friends, usual food, and she really wanted to go to soccer camp with her friends. She sneaks a cell phone (computers and cell phones are banned items since they were not invented in the 1800s) and texts her friends back home who convert them into a blog.

I liked the book and am sure others would too. I could not imagine living even a single day without chatting and texting my friends and all the simple gadgets that we have that make our life more easy and fun. At first, I didn't think she was on a vacation - it sounded like a punishment like when your parents take away your phone or computer privileges. After reading the book, I found it to be a good adventure. It is hard to imagine having to wear stuffy clothes and live without electricity and still be expected to have fun. Gen found a way to do just that. The book reminded me of when I went on a family vacation to Colonial Williamsburg and how at first I didn't like it and then found it to be fun.

I had lots of favorite parts. I liked the overall story of when she snuck in her first cell phone and used it to text even and then when the TV lady arrived - yikes! You have to read the book to know more and I don't want to spoil it for you. I also liked all the characters even Nora.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars GREAT book if you want disrespectful b*tchy kids.
This book is unbelievably bad. Normally I get upset with teen books that are filled with alcohol abuse and sex and violence but this book didn't have any of that so it should have... Read more
Published 2 months ago by M.F.
4.0 out of 5 stars girl who like to read
I liked the book. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes the little house on the prairie or the movie for richer or poor. The ending was very good. Read more
Published 5 months ago by a person who likes word games
4.0 out of 5 stars This was a fast and enjoyable red. Although predictable ...
This was a fast and enjoyable red. Although predictable in spots, the story has moments of laughter, surprise and is also touching.
Published 6 months ago by Lorre
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reading with my son
Excellent reading with my son. It bring a whole new perspective in live and a whole new perspecting on planning a future family vacation. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Diane Cortes
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good as I expected
Published 7 months ago by Soo hyung Kim
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun... 1890s Style
When Gen’s mom announces the family’s summer vacation will be at Camp Frontier where you get to pretend it’s 1890 and work on a real farm, Gen is not happy. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Heather E. Hejduk
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! Would recommend to all!
I would recommend this book for teens who love romance, and a little adventure! I enjoyed hearing about life on the prairie from a modern girl's perspective.
Published 11 months ago by MegRocks
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine
It was fun but it kinda switched really fast between prairie and reality tv it could have been better but I still liked it
Published 12 months ago by Breana Hauser
4.0 out of 5 stars Cute. Doesn't quite transcend title.
You can tell all you need to know from the title. Modern girl doesn't want to be in a reinactment camp and blogs about it. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Maria Beadnell
4.0 out of 5 stars Great!
I thought this was going to be an almost too simple read but I found it truly interesting with a great story.
Published 13 months ago by C. Busby
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