“…My hair’s mostly wind,
My eyes filled with grit
My skin’s white then brown
My lips chapped and split
I’ve lain on the prairie and heard grasses sigh
I’ve stared at the vast open bowl of the sky
I’ve seen all the castles and faces in clouds
My home is the prairie and for that I am proud…
If You’re not from the Prairie, you can’t know my soul
You don’t know our blizzards; you’ve not fought our cold
You can’t know my mind, nor ever my heart
Unless deep within you there’s somehow a part…
A part of these things that I’ve said that I know,
The wind, sky and earth, the storms and the snow.
Best say that you have – and then we’ll be one,
For we will have shared that same blazing sun.
…taken from If You’re not from the Prairie (
“If you’re from the prairie or not doesn’t matter: this evocative book will take your breath away. David Bouchard has created a series of verses about life on the prairie that are simple, lyrical and exquisite. Henry Ripplinger’s brush matches the cadence of the poetry stroke for stroke.
This is a book that is hard to put down and easy to return to. Is it and adult book masquerading as a children’s book? It is the author’s and illustrator’s loving look back to their home, but it transcends age and time and place. A child will e drawn in by the poetry’s ingenious metaphors and the pictures’ panoramic rural scenes. The prairie landscape is realistically painted with a magical glow that distance in time allows the painter. An adult will hear the nostalgic echoes of childhood. Adult or child – one’s eyes will be lost in the expanse of the prairie and one’s ears will reverberate with the melodic rhymes.
Which accompanies what in this book? The words and pictures are so perfectly and evenly matched that, although either medium could stand well on its own, together they create an inseparable whole.
This review does little justice to the book. If You’re Not From the Prairie…belongs on bookshelves in the mountains, on the seashore, in forests, cities, tundra…and on the prairies, too! … Theo Hersh is a children’s librarian with the Toronto Public Library in Toronto, Ontario
John Burroughs List of Nature Books for Young Readers – New York
Short Listed for the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize
Shortlisted for the Ontario Silver Birch Award
Canadian Children’s Book Centre Our Choice Award
Nominated for the Flicker Tale Children’s Book Award in North Dakota
Nominated for the Bill Martin, Jr. Picture Book Award in Kansas
If You’re Not from the Prairie has sold over 150,000 copies in Canada and in the U.S. It has been on the best sellers list in the Vancouver Sun, Canada’s Globe and Mail, Victoria’s Times Colonist, Macleans and Time Magazines.
For a list of the most popular Canadian children’s books EVER…click on the flag!
For those who grew up on the prairie (as I did in Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan), memories of the cold wind blowing across the road, a lonely gopher perched high on a quiet bluff or a new child moving in down the street… these are all memories that stay with us until the day that we die.