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If You're Not from the Prairie


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Gr 2-6‘Blazing skies in bright blues bounce from the full-page acrylic illustrations that face every page of poetic text in this piece about modern-day life on the prairie. Ripplinger's paintings are done in a realistic style somewhat similar to Andrew Wyeth's. In them, a young boy and his dog play through every season on farmlands, prairie fields, and country roads. He and his friends have a snowball fight in front of a large country house and board the school bus in a winter blizzard. The child walks in a creek bed in solitude and down the road beside his dad. For the most part, the accompanying verse is well written. The dialogue style works well rhythmically and makes for a possible story hour or program read-aloud. Adults would also enjoy this nostalgic piece that ends with the boy a grown farmer: ``You see, my hair's mostly wind,/My eyes filled with grit,/My skin's red or brown,/My lips chapped and split.'' With its attractive format, this will make a nice additional purchase for poetry collections, though in prairie areas it might be a ``must.''‘Susannah Price, Boise Public Library, ID

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