Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Prairie Evers

Prairie Evers

Ellen Airgood
For ages 9 to 12
Penguin, 2012   ISBN: 978-0399256912

Three months ago Prairie, her Grammy, and her parents left their home in North Carolina and came to live in upstate New York. They are now living on the farm that Prairie’s mother inherited from her parents. Prairie misses North Carolina a great deal, but she knows that her parents really want to build a life for themselves in this new place, and so she tries to accept her lot. Then, on New Year’s Eve, Grammy announces that she is moving back to North Carolina. Prairie is appalled. Grammy has been a part of her life since forever. She has been Prairie’s teacher, friend and confidant. How on earth is she going to manage without Grammy around?

To try to fill the void in her life after her grandmother leaves, Prairie decides to keep some chickens. They will give her something to do in her spare time and her parents are willing to let her try raising chickens. What Prairie does not expect is that taking care of chickens is a lot of work, but at the same time it is incredibly rewarding, and she grows fond of her birds and takes pleasure in watching them as they go about their day.

Then something truly terrible happens; Prairie’s parents decide that the time has come for Prairie to go to school. Nothing Prairie says can convince them to change their minds. She has never been to school before and is sure that it will be dreadful.

Sure enough, school is a loud and unfriendly place and Prairie comes home every day exhausted and dispirited. There is only one person in her class who might be friend material, but Ivy is so quiet and reserved that Prairie cannot be sure. Then Ivy starts to warm to Prairie and, after they both give speeches in class, they start spending time together.

It isn’t long before Ivy and Prairie are the best of friends. Ivy spends a lot of time at Prairie’s house because the situation at her home is not a good one. Ivy’s mother does not seem to care about her daughter at all, and so the girls spend time at Prairie’s place, where there are chickens and cats to play with, woods to explore, and where there are grownups who love and care for them.

Everything is going so well and then Ivy’s mother starts seriously dating a man from another town. Prairie and Ivy begin to worry that Ivy’s mother might move away, taking Ivy with her. What will they do if they forced are split up?

This wonderful book explores the ways in which change can be a good, if at times painful, thing. Prairie’s voice is so fresh, honest, and genuine, and we cannot help becoming very attached to the girl who loves fiercely and who also starts learning how to be sensitive to the feelings of others. More than anything, this book is a celebration of love and friendship, in its many forms.