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The Prairie Thief by Melissa Wiley

1) Discussion time. (30 mintues)


2) Making butter (30 min. total)
3) Prairie Games: Prey and predator game 30 min.
4) Prairie Remnant Scavenger Hunt (send home with kids)
5) Brownie Hats for snack

Discuss:
1) Read Melissas bio and inspiration for the story
(summarize with pictures) :
http://melissawiley.com/blog/2012/08/23/plains-conservation-center/
2) This is an historical fiction. Remember what that means? What is the time period of this
book? (correct any misunderstandings) Authors who write historical fictions have to do a
lot of research. Why would it be important for an historical fiction writer to do research?
What if Louisa whipped out her cell phone and called her Dad while he was in jail?
3) Read the intro letter from the Sheriff. Explain the history of circuit judges and why they
would have had to call the judge back and find a jury. How does that differ from our
courts and jury system now?
4) The Smirches took Louisa in when her Pa went to jail, but they werent happy about it.
When you read the opening line, did you think Pa was innocent or guilty?
5) blossomed like a prairie rose after a good rain.pg 51 We talked about similes in
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (exmad as Mr. Wonka). Here is another example.
Touchier than a porcupine with poison ivy.pg 20
6) Good writing shows you the story rather than tells you the story. Look at the way Miss
Melissa uses interesting verbs to give us an impression of what Mrs. Smirch is really like
(Pgs 9-10) fussed, hissed, huffed, snarled, whipped, whirled and eyed. What do these
interesting verbs help to understand about Mrs. Smirchs personality?
7) Pg. 44 All these people from different ports o the world comin together here to make a
new life, mixinup their food and songs and ways o doing things. Ah tis a fine land
youve been born to, Louisa Brody. Full o possibility. Do any of you know where your
ancestors come from? Any Irish or Scottish ancestors? Italian? Russian? Have you ever
heard of your grandparents or great-grandparents talk about the Old Country? Where was
that? Do you know why they came here? Ask your parents tonight if they know.
8) What did you think of the Brownie when you first met him (after Louisa ran from the
scissors and the wolves). He wasnt what Louisa expected after her first encounter. Was
he what you expected?
9) A dugout or dug-out, also known as a pit-house, earth lodge, mud hut, is a shelter for
humans or domesticated animals and livestock based on a hole or depression dug into the
ground. Dugouts can be fully recessed into the earth, with a flat roof covered by ground,
or dug into a hillside. They can also be semi-recessed, with a constructed wood or sod
roof standing out. (Show pictures of dug outs from internet)
10) What did you think of the ending? Discuss
11) Brownies were creatures from Scottish folklore. What other mythical or creatures from
folklore do you know of and do you know where they come from?