- Series: A Harper Trophy Book
- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins (September 25, 1987)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0064402061
- ISBN-13: 978-0064402064
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 7.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.1 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,639,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Prairie Songs (A Harper Trophy Book) Paperback – September 25, 1987
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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From Publishers Weekly
A girl's abiding love for her Nebraska home is shaken with the arrival of a frail young city woman who cannot endure the harsh pioneer life. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Gr 5-8 The Nebraska prairie was a barren place that offered beauty and peace to some, loneliness and madness to others. Prairie Songs provides a beautifully written insight into this contrast. Louisa and her shy brother Lester live quite contentedly with their parents when the new doctor arrives with his beautiful and fragile pregnant wife, Emmeline. All work to help the new couple adjust to harsh weather, buffalo chips, soddies and Indians; Emmeline agrees to teach the children some reading. After a terrible fright, she goes into premature labor; her baby is stillborn, and Emmeline is reduced to madness. The children notice Emmeline's loneliness and growing madness with sadness, but they accept prairie life for what it is. Conrad artfully deals with all the harsh facts in this fast-paced novel which leaves readers with a real feeling for the difficulties of pioneer life. Children may well appreciate modern medicine and communication, not to mention suburbia, after reading this poignant story. Dorcas Hand, Episcopal High School, Bellaire, Tex.
Copyright 1985 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Then Doctor and Mrs. Berryman move to the area. Immediately Louisa is fascinated by the beautiful and refined Emmeline Berryman, with her elegant violet dress and her trunkful of books. The community may have needed a doctor, but Louisa knows she needs reading even more.
Yet before long, it’s clear that Emmeline isn’t equipped for life on the prairie. She’s delicate and easily frightened, and her husband often needs to leave her all alone for days at a time as he travels to patients.
While an engaging historical fiction, this story may be a bit too much for younger readers, as it centers upon the issues of mental instability and grief. Parents and teachers should be cautious and ready to discuss any questions their children may have.
The problem I have with the book, eventhough it received the Children's Book Award in 1986, is that the theme of the book is not one which elementary school children can process. Having taught fourth and fifth grade students most of the thirty-five years of my teaching career, I can declare of a certainty that this is not a book that these students can appreciate. Boys of this age, as well as most middle schoolers, would find the scene with Paulie shooting at his mother very funny! It is anything but! It is also not realistic for children and parents of this time period to have the back and forth banter that this family has.
Pregnancy and childbirth were generally not shared with children of the time period.
Many of my students would be quite uncomfortable if this book were read as a trade book or as a supplement to the language curriculum.
As an adult, I found the book both touching and disturbing in many aspects.
This story is in first person point of view. The main character is a young girl named Louisa who lives with her father, mother, and little brother in Nebraska on a plain, barren prairie. She is a static character nothing very dramatic changes about her, but she has many characteristics that you will find very funny and interesting.
The main plot of the story consists of conflict after conflict. First, this Doctor and his wife move to the same Nebraska prairie, and everything begins to go uphill. Louisa gets to hear about the city life, her and her brother get free school lessons, the moms get to become friends, and the dads get to hang out and get away from the women.
Until one thing goes wrong and scares the Docs wife so bad that she has a miscarriage. Then the men have to leave for a few days and last some Indians decide to pay Louisa and her family a visit. There is no happiness anywhere to be found for a while, until the warm spring comes around and it brings out the best in everyone.
In conclusion, even though there is a lot of sadness and death but the turnout of everything is worth it. I would not recommend this book to any child younger than the age of 13. This is a very mature book. So if you like nice, calm, but yet sad stories you will love this book.