[The Prairie Thief]: A Review

Hi y’all!

Happy Spring to you! I hope you are enjoying springtime wherever you are. We are loving the warmer weather and blossoming trees near us. More outside time for us all!

Today I am excited to share a review of a delightful story that I recently enjoyed. The Prairie Thief by Melissa Wiley is such a cute story and I think it would be a great read aloud book (evidenced by its place on The Read Aloud Revival’s book lists). 

Initial Thoughts:

  • “Little House on the Prairie meets The Spiderwick Chronicles” is a perfect description of this story!

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According to Goodreads, “Louisa Brody’s life on the Colorado prairie is not at all what she expected. Her dear Pa, accused of thievery, is locked thirty miles away in jail. She’s living with the awful Smirches, her closest neighbors and the very family that accused her Pa of the horrendous crime. And now she’s discovered one very cantankerous—and magical—secret beneath the hazel grove. With her life flipped upside-down, it’s up to Louisa, her sassy friend Jessamine, and that cranky secret to save Pa from a guilty verdict.

Ten bold illustrations from Erwin Madrid accompany seasoned storyteller Melissa Wiley’s vibrant and enchanting tale of life on the prairie—with one magical twist.

Louisa as sweet, likable protagonist. She is so easy to cheer for. Young readers will connect instantly with her. I think she would  be friends with Laura Ingalls Wilder and her sisters. Louisa’s experiences living on the prairie reminded me a lot of the Ingalls experiences homesteading on the plains. Louisa seems born for that type of life. I loved the glimpses we get into her home life with her father and the things that are most special to her. She is determined, kind, and willing to do what it takes to save her Pa. I love her friendship with Jessamine and her new magical friends. She is brave and willing to try new and unknown things to save her Pa. I loved her story!

The brownies are such clever little characters. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the magical elements in this story. We get to know the brownies and their history as the backdrop for magic. It’s clever and I love how they connect to our world. I loved their names. I loved their accents. I loved the backstory they get about helping people in the “Auld Country” and how their ways and traditions are changing. I love their connections to big people and how they help them secretly but expect something in return. 

The simple story is both surprising and exciting! This is a story about a girl trying to save her Pa from hanging for a crime he didn’t commit. But the way we get to that climax is quite unexpected. We meet a few unlikely friends that bring magic and hope back into Louisa’s life. A few favorite scenes were when Louisa rides the antelope and meeting the brownie with the experiences in his little home. I loved how the judge was connected to the brownies and that they are able to overcome Mrs Smirch in clever ways with the crow and the keys. A delightful story that kept surprising me and teaches some great lessons.

This book teaches lovely morals about treating others with respect and kindness. Overcoming prejudice and false accusations is at the heart of this story, but in clever ways. It doesn’t preach respect but it weaves it into the story. Other themes that resonated with me: being a good friend, communicating with those you love most and helping them feel better during hard times, understanding truth and how to present truth, believe in magic and hope for good things to come.

This is such a fun, comfortable story. The characters are fun and the magic cleverly connects the American prairie with the “Auld Country.” The pictures every so often are a fun addition to the story. I would have loved more! A perfect book for read aloud!

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What books remind you of old favorites like the Little House books?
What are some of your favorite books with clever magic?

2 thoughts on “[The Prairie Thief]: A Review

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