Prairie Town

by Bonnie Geisert and Arthur Geisert

A grain elevator connected to the outside world by the sky and a pair of railroad... read more

A grain elevator connected to the outside world by the sky and a pair of railroad tracks has homes, a few businesses, a school, a post office, a couple of churches, a cemetery surrounding it. This small town located somewhere in the Great Plains of North America during the mid-20th century has all that--and there's more, much more. Evidence of people's routines is everywhere . They do indoor and outdoor work, run their machines, handle errands, and raise seasonal crops. There are occasional changes: a house fire, painting of the water tower, and modifications to a tree house. Puppies are born. The water tower is repainted, a new tombstone appears, and the school playground gets improved. There's a weekly livestock sale, and--sometimes--a visiting carnival. The weather dominates just about everything that happens: winter can be particularly fierce, and the sunsets are sensational. Both Geiserts did the thinking and planning for this unusual glimpse of one community and some of its happenings. Bonnie did most of the writing. Arthur created detailed views of the town in 21 remarkable full-color etchings, ten of which are double-page spreads. Children can look at length to make comparisons and notice differences as the seasons roll past. This affectionate summary of life in a particular small town all year round is a tribute to that way of living for examination from several perspectives. Why did it develop? What has changed? Ask someone who grew up in a similar town, or lives in one now, to respond to this fascinating sequence of images about community. (Ages 5-9)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 1998

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