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A delicate, stunning account of life on the prairie from Newbery medalist Patricia MacLachlan.

Cool summer mornings begin with the rose orange sun and the smell of earth, and fade into hot summer nights with a yellow moon, covered in a quilt of stars. There are wagon rides, farm dogs, trips into town, and games of kick the can. These are prairie days.

Patricia MacLachlan applies her lyrical, sparse voice and vibrant, tender art from Micha Archer to transport readers to the prairie of her youth in this stunning celebration of the beauty in the world.

Photograph by John MacLachlan

Patricia MacLachlan is the author of many well-loved novels and picture books, including Sarah, Plain and Tall, winner of the Newbery Medal; its sequels, Skylark and Caleb’s StoryEdward’s EyesThe True GiftWaiting for the MagicWhite Fur Flying; and Fly Away. She lives in western Massachusetts.

Micha Archer illustrated The Wise Fool, Lola’s Fandango, and Prairie Days, and wrote and illustrated Daniel Finds a Poem. Working in collage and oil, her use of color and pattern is influenced by the folk art, crafts, and architecture of the countries she has visited and lived in. She realized the importance of the book as a teaching tool after teaching kindergarten and raising two children. Micha divides her time between Costa Rica and western Massachusetts, where she lives in the house she and her husband built, surrounded by gardens and forest to roam in.

  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (July 1, 2020)
  • Length: 40 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781442441910
  • Ages: 4 - 8

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"Archer's vivid, textured mixed-media illustrations include tissue papers and homemade stamps. They are richly colored and detailed; these are spreads to linger over. Readers may see something new with each look. A deeply nostalgic look at once-upon-a-time Midwest farm life." - Kirkus Reviews

"In sparse, lyrical prose, Newbery medalist MacLachlan extols the prairies of eastern Wyoming (circa the 1940s), where she was born. Archer's vibrant, mixed-media illustrations combine acrylics, ink, and textured papers created with origami, tissue paper, and homemade stamps...many spreads employ a wide-angle perspective that furthers the sense of the prairie's vastness. Nostalgic, yet filled with timeless experiences." - Booklist 

* "Elaborate sun-filled spreads by Archer (Daniel’s Good Day) illuminate Newbery Medalist MacLachlan’s farm-life memories in this dazzling picture book. Together, words and pictures create a sense of endless space and ample time. Childhoods as free as this one are not as common as they once were; borrowing MacLachlan’s is the next best thing." - Publishers Weekly, starred review

"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. 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." - School Library Journal

"In this nostalgic idyll set on the American prairie...a young girl describes summertime farm life as she and the other children ride horses, take a trip into town for penny candy, swim in a pond, and play kick-the-can until adults call them back inside at bedtime. Archer's illustrations lean into the text's idolized depiction of time and place (surely not all the farm smells were sweet, for instance), offering spread after spread of breathtakingly gorgeous scenes."  - Horn Book Magazine

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