If You’re Not From The Prairie… is the book we’ve chosen to share for our participation in this year’s Read Around The World Summer Series by Multicultural Kid Blogs. Over the course of this summer the members of MKB are sharing some of their favourite books. You will find all of them on the MKB Summer Reading Pinterest board. You can also join the fun on our Facebook page and G+ community!
If You’re Not From The Prairie…has long been a favourite book of mine. I had this book that was written by David Bouchard and illustrated by Henry Ripplinger on my wish list for a long time, but thought it might be nice to wait until our next trip home to the Canadian prairies to purchase it as a lasting souvenir for the children. However, last autumn I flew over to England for a day to visit with my uncle and aunt while they were in the UK on holidays and they brought a copy signed by Henry Ripplinger as a gift for Kallista! The perfect gift.
If You’re Not From The Prairie… is a poetic journey through the seasons in both prose and pictures. The story talks about what is the essence of life on the prairies while growing up. From the never-ending skies to the wind that feels like it will cut right through you. From the heat of the summer sun to the frigid winter blizzards, the combination of words and pictures evoke childhood memories of growing up on the prairies.
So you’re not from the prairie, And yet you know snow. You think you know snow? Blizzards bring danger, as legends have told, In deep drifts we roughhouse, ignoring the cold. At times we look out at great seas of white, So bright is the sun that we squeeze our eyes tight. If you’re not from the prairie, You don’t know snow.
This book also has other memories for me. David Bouchard was the grade 8 teacher at my school when I was in about the 5th grade. When it was so bitterly cold that it was too dangerous for us to go outside for recess the older half of the student population would head down to the school basement to play floor hockey or other activities. Sometimes, if we were lucky, Mr. Bouchard would have his guitar and sing for us.
My children, who are 4 & 6, absolutely adore If You’re Not From The Prairie…and have a ball quoting from it! They’ve been to Regina, Saskatchewan during winter weather and they think they know the cold and snow. But you really do have to live there to know about it. They know I’m a prairie girl at heart, and they know me, so they learn about the prairies every day.
The prose of this book is enough to paint pictures in your head, and for you to feel the sun on your face, the wind in your hair, and the cold in your bones. But the prairies are about much more than that! For those who do not know the prairies, you will catch a glimpse through the illustrations. There are lots of details in them, and they paint a very accurate landscape of the surroundings I grew up with. The children had a giggle when they saw that the mailboxes on our favourite page have the names of Bouchard and Ripplinger on them!
If You’re Not From The Prairie… will appeal to all ages. Some people think the prairies are boring and the landscape doesn’t change, but after reading this book you’ll have a better appreciation of the beauty of the landscape and how it is alive and changes from minute to minute.
David Bouchard is now an author (in both English and French) and public speaker. He is an advocate for literacy and has won many awards, including the Order of Canada in 2009. You can find out more about him and his other books on his website.
Henry Ripplinger is also busy penning books these days as well as touring around Canada for book signings. You can find out more about his work through his fine art gallery, Henry’s, or through his Angelic Letters Series website.