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David Bouchard
Illustrated by Henry Ripplinger Vancouver, Raincoast Books/Summer Wild Productions, 1993. 32pp, cloth, $19.95
ISBN 0-969609744. Distributed by Raincoast Book Distribution. CIP

Subject Headings:
Prairie Provinces-Poetry.
Prairie Provinces in art.

Kindergarten and up / Ages 5 and up

Reviewed by Theo Hersh

Volume 22 Number 3
1994 May/June

If you're from the prairie or not it 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 an 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 be 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
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