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The Beef Princess of Practical County [Kindle Edition]

Michelle Houts
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.99
Kindle Price: $5.99
You Save: $2.00 (25%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

After years of waiting, it is finally Libby Ryan’s turn to shine at the Practical County Fair. Libby is filled with excitement as she and her granddad pick out two calves for her to raise on her family’s cattle farm, in hopes of winning the annual steer competition. Against her father’s advice, Libby gives the calves names, even though both steers will eventually be auctioned off. After a few months of preparing for the Practical County Fair, Libby finds that she is growing closer to her steers with each passing day, and the pressure to win Grand Champion is mounting.

Luckily, Libby can count on her best friend to get her through most of the county fair chaos. Yet once reality sets in and she realizes that her steers will soon be sold to the highest bidder, the chaos in Libby’s heart becomes
too much to bear.

Michelle Houts lives on a grain and livestock farm in West Central Ohio with her husband and three children. This is her first novel.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

“Calves don’t need names,” Libby’s dad warns as she chooses her first two steers to show at the Practical County Fair. Yet in her enthusiasm and determination to bring a ribbon home to Ryansmeade, the family farm and cattle ranch, Libby immediately names the animals Piggy and Mule—and falls in love. How will she ever sell them at auction now? First-time novelist Houts paints an idyllic yet authentic picture of farm life as she takes Libby and her family through the ups and downs of cattle raising and fair-showing with sly humor and a flair for description and characterization. Rural readers and their urban cousins alike will laugh at the Darling sisters—Precious, Lil, and Ohma—who are fine villains, all, and they will cry with Libby as she leads her prize steers to slaughter. Welcome another talented YA author to the fold. Grades 6-9. --Frances Bradburn


WINNER - 2010 International Reading Association Children's Book Award

FINALIST - 2010 Buckeye Children's Book Award

Product Details

  • File Size: 418 KB
  • Print Length: 242 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0440422701
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (April 14, 2009)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00256Z3KY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #845,934 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best February 18, 2013
By Cj
Format:Kindle Edition
Hi this is a good book for 5th graders. The beef Princess of practical county is a good book. Peace
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too August 9, 2009
THE BEEF PRINCESS OF PRACTICAL COUNTY is a sweet coming-of-age novel.

Libby loves the cow farm she's grown up on. But she's lived in her brother's shadow and her father has never noticed her when it comes to the farm. When her brother heads off to college, Libby is granted the chance to raise two calves for the next county fair. She will only be able to show one of the calves, but she has the opportunity to show her father what she can do.

When her dear Piggy becomes too injured to enter, Libby has to work with the more obstinate of the two calves. She can't imagine that he can possibly be a winner, but Libby is determined to win the Grand Champion designation, something even her brother has never accomplished.

Libby's competing against the Darling girls. The two eldest have been the fair princesses for the past few years and are entering their own cattle. The youngest one, Ohma, is the same age as Libby. And although Ohma isn't in the same princess league as her sisters, she's still a Darling.

Libby finds herself learning to love the calf that wanted to be left alone. And more surprisingly, she finds her mom has talked her into running for the princess title against the Darling sisters. As the summer winds down and the fair looms closer, Libby grows more confident in herself and her abilities.

For a first-time novelist, Ms. Houts has written a tender story of growing up and becoming who you are meant to be. Growing up in a small town that holds annual fairs similar to that depicted in THE BEEF PRINCESS OF PRACTICAL COUNTY, I felt a special connection to the story. Ms. Houts captures the spirit and the competition of a county fair to a T.

Reviewed by: Jaglvr
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What do beef and princess have in common? July 23, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book features Libby, a 12 year old girl, who is determined to prove herself to everyone, including herself. And what is refreshing is that she does it with style and grace and in the end, she understand the true meaning of love and friendship and commitment.

It's a family book that will have you laughing, crying and holding your breath and sometimes all in the same chapter. And you will know about farms and raising cattle.

Not only is it well worth the read, but it will stay with you long after you have finished it. When I finished it, I couldn't wait for more and finally, after a long wait, there is a sequel.

Michelle Houts also published The Practical County Drama Queen and if you fell in love with Libby, wait until you fall in love with her little sister, Frannie. But do read them in order!

Excellent literature.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A real "Champion" of a book April 16, 2009
What a wonderfully funny, touching and entertaining book. I am so anxious for our county fair in August because I will now be seeing a lot of it through Libby Ryan's eyes.

I had no idea everything that goes into getting an animal ready to exhibit at a fair and I was fascinated to see it all unfold. You could feel every emotion that Libby was feeling from the joy of it all to the hard realization that you must let your animal go, and Libby learned to do that with style and grace.

Readers need to be aware that this is not just a story about getting a steer ready for exhibit, far from it. It is a story about family and friends and even "enemies" and learning what a family tradition is and how to come to understand the importance of that tradition.

Libby's family and friends give her unconditional support during her journey. Her Grandad's quiet nature and wonderful sense of humor gets Libby through some hard decisions. Her parents are also there to help Libby but they are also smart enough to let her do what she needs to do. Her brother Ronnie is a guiding force even though he is away at college. Frannie, Libby's 4 year old sister brings humor and patience to Libby's life. I was particularly taken with Frannie's "grandchildren", each time they appeared I could not help but chuckle and smile. Carol Ann is the essential friend that we all had growing up, the one that got us through each day, always there to understand and offer advice and know just what to say and sometimes knowing what not to say.

I enjoyed seeing the way Libby and Carol Ann dealt with the Darling sisters, who did their best to make life miserable and less than "darling" for everyone they knew. As much fun as I had watching Libby grow and mature I was just as taken with Ohma Darling.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Such a great read June 12, 2014
To Begin: This is more of a middle grade book, and I knew that going into it, but I wanted to get it because I can relate to it. My dad has a farm and he raises beef cattle, too, so I've grown up around this type of thing.

Characters: Libby was a wonderful character. She was well defined, and you can relate to her, and see where she's coming from with the issues she deals with in this book. However, I felt like the adults in the book - her mother, her father, and her grandfather, for the most part - were very unrealistic. They pretty much did whatever Libby or her sister wanted them to, and they just didn't act like normal parents or grandparents. I saw it more with Libby's parents, but at times her grandfather got that way, too.

Plot: Loved the plot. It was wonderful, and also very original. And that's pretty much all I have to say about that. xD

Wow Factor: For the most part, I was pretty wowed by this book. I loved how it was set in the country, how it revolved around farming and raising beef cattle, and how it dealt with 4-H and a girl raising her own show cattle. 4 hearts.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 4 months ago by Julia Cox
5.0 out of 5 stars Gift for Xmas, I don't know yet.
Gift for Xmas ,I don't know yet.
Published 5 months ago by jane patterson
2.0 out of 5 stars The beef princess of practical county
It was a drag it just kept going on and on I normally read a book fast but I had to keep putting it down. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Rebecca Katlyn Hicks
5.0 out of 5 stars my life
This book has been my whole life since I was 8 I'm in 4-H so this is my entire life I buy animals and sell them that is why I love this book
Published 11 months ago by julie olver
Great family book - enjoyable for all ages and especially those who have grown up (or wish they had grown up) knowing the farm life and all the wonderful things that go along with... Read more
Published 13 months ago by sharon bush
5.0 out of 5 stars A strong story for rural readers
Houts did a great job on this first novel. In this coming- of- age story, middle schooler Libby is growing up in a typical rural American community, surrounded by cattle and small... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Dr. W. C. kasten
4.0 out of 5 stars 4-H story
Having grown up on a farm with beef cattle and also being excited about the county fair, I really enjoyed this story. I like supporting local authors too.
Published 19 months ago by Marsha
4.0 out of 5 stars Beef Princess of Practical Country
It was a very good book that was always great! I recommend this book to all girls. It was amazing!
Published on March 4, 2013 by Ackerson Kids
1.0 out of 5 stars Disgusting and disturbing
If you are a vegetarian or anyone who has any sort of compassion for animals, even your pets, do not read this book. Read more
Published on May 25, 2012 by Alexandra C. Parvaz
5.0 out of 5 stars A touching and delightful book
The Beef Princess of Practical County is a touching and delightful book. Children's literature at its finest, this little novel will appeal to both young and old--anyone who enjoys... Read more
Published on April 15, 2012 by Raymond Bial
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More About the Author

Michelle Houts lives on a family farm in West Central Ohio with her three children, the farmer of her dreams, some cattle, a few hogs, a whole lot of barn cats, a few goats and a Great Pyrenees named Hercules. Learn more about Michelle, her work, and farm life at

The Beef Princess of Practical County, 2009, was her first novel for middle grade readers. It won a 2010 International Reading Association Children's Book Award and the 2011 Nebraska Farm Bureau Agricultural Book of the Year for grades 4 and 5.

The Practical County Drama Queen, the much-anticipated follow-up to The Beef Princess, was released in the spring of 2014.

Winterfrost, a Christmas tale for all ages, was released September 9, 2014 by Candlewick Press. It is Michelle's first Junior Library Guild selection.

Michelle's first nonfiction title is Kammie on First: Baseball's Dottie Kamenshek. It is the biography of one the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League's best players. A ten-year first baseman for the Rockford Peaches, Dottie Kamenshek wowed the crowds with her athleticism. Dottie helped inspire Geena Davis's character, Dottie Hinson, in the movie "A League of Their Own."

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