Prairie Days

S & S./Margaret K. McElderry Bks. May 2020. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781442441910.
K-Gr 3–This charming story was inspired by MacLachlan’s childhood. She recalls waking up with the sun on a summer morning on the prairie. She tells of long, hot summer days spent laying in fields with the smell of wild roses or riding horses on country lanes. With other children she would run and shriek and play kick the can until the darkness came and they returned to bed, reading under the covers while the moon rose yellow. With short, descriptive phrases MacLachlan remembers the beauty of farm life, and the offset portions of text bring rhythm to the words. The paper collage illustrations add intricate texture and detail to the deceptive simplicity of the prairie landscape. Sunrises and sunsets are built with layer upon layer of textured paper so that the landscape fills the page from corner to corner. Nostalgia bleeds into the illustrations, some of which have a scrapbook feel, such as the spread that features store shelves lined with black-and-white images cut out of old catalogues. The human figures are tiny and found nestled into the scenes on most pages, fitting for a story that places them in contrast to the majesty of a beautiful prairie landscape.
VERDICT Recommended for purchase.

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