Monday, March 16, 2015

MMGM: Little Blog on the Prairie

This is book is about five years old, so I’m not sure why I didn’t hear about till now, since this was a book that seemed to be written for me.  Not only did I love the Little House series as a girl (and secretly wish the power would permanently go out, so I could live just like Laura), but I also loved The Frontier  House series that came out in the late 90s.

Come to find out, the author of LITTLE BLOG ON THE PRAIRIE was inspired by both. And even though I was a bit more like Gen’s mom than Gen, I loved this hilarious take what it would be like to vacation at Camp Frontier.

The synopsis (from Amazon):

Camp Frontier promises families the “thrill” of living like 1890s pioneers. Gen will be thrilled if she survives the summer stuck in a cabin with her family and no modern amenities. But ever the savvy teen, Gen sneaks in a phone and starts texting about camp life. Turns out, there are some good points-like the cute boy who lives in the next clearing. But when her texts go viral as a blog and a TV crew arrives, Gen realizes she may have just ruined the best vacation she's ever had.
What I loved:

      1.  Experiencing (real) pioneer life: I loved the nitty-gritty details of life on the prairie: struggling to make and find food, washing dishes with a rag, doing laundry in a washboard, hoeing corn. This was the reason I loved Frontier House (PBS series). It's easy to imagine how you might do as a modern person at Pioneer Camp (not very well, I'm afraid!).

      2.   An excellent antagonist: I thought Nora was one of the best antagonists that I’ve read in awhile. Writers are often advised  to create villains that aren’t stereotypical, but sympathetic. Study Nora and her motives if you want to create a memorable and interesting antagonist. I had a hard time hating her. :)

      3.  Humor: Gen, the main character, has a wonderful sense of humor, which comes through in her texts, her asides, her dialogue. Not to mention the fabulous situational humor in the book.

      4.  An interesting family: Five points for interesting parents. Everyone in Gen’s family, including her brother, grew and changed throughout the novel. 

      5. Media theme. I loved the juxtaposition of pioneer life with Gen’s texting throughout the novel. The role of media played out in many ways in the story, from how technology was relinquished upon arrival at camp to Gen’s interesting dilemma at the end.

This is a great book if you want some light reading, a trip back to Laura-land, but with some thought-provoking questions and interesting characters. It would make a great spring break read.
Speaking of spring break, I will be taking next week off to enjoy mine with my kids and (hopefully) get some interrupted writing time.
See you again in April!

Have you read any fun MG novels lately?

If you're looking for Marvelous Middle Grade suggestions, check out Shannon Messenger's blog.


  1. Sounds like a fun story. I hadn't heard of it either. Have a fun break with your kids!

  2. Thanks for this great review, it sounds interesting and different, though I might not appreciate it as much as other reader because I have to confess I never read The Little House on the Prairie books.

  3. What a great concept. Enjoyed your thoughts on the antagonist as what you said is so important when creating characters. I'll be searching out this one. Thanks.

  4. That's funny she smuggled in a phone and that her texts went viral.

  5. Gosh, this one really sounds like fun. I'm going to have to check it out. I also loved the Little House books and thought it would be great to live in those times. I've gotten over that thought. Thanks for telling me about this.

  6. Oooh. . . now I'm hooked (especially because I probably would have smuggled a phone in too). Thanks for the review! :)

  7. You had me at interesting parents. (Actually you had me before that, but I love it when MG books manage to make adults and families realistic.)

  8. This is a fun one! I'm a big fan of the Little House books too!

  9. OMG, I loved the Little House books so much!! I read every single one, multiple times. This sounds like so much fun!

  10. this looks like plain fun! Esp. for those of us who read and re-read Little House books till the bindings turned into dust.

  11. This sounds like a fun book. Loved the Little House books.

  12. I've not heard of this book and it looks like such a fun read for both my daughter and me. Thanks for a great review and have a wonderful break. Happy Easter!

  13. This looks really fun! My family has just started watching the National Geographic series, "The Pioneers". You might enjoy that, if you haven't seen it!