The Prairie Thief

Illustrated by: Erwin Madrid
For Ages: 8 - 12
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Experience life on the prairie—with one fantastical twist!

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.
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  • Margaret K. McElderry Books | 
  • 224 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781442440562 | 
  • August 2012 | 
  • Grades 3 - 7
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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

It Ain’t Right

THE SMIRCHES TOOK LOUISA IN WHEN HER PA WENT to jail, but they weren’t happy about it.

“Another mouth to feed,” griped Mrs. Smirch. Her cold eyes looked Louisa up and down. “And she’s too puny to be any help around this place. I can’t fathom what got into your head, Malcolm.”

Mr. Smirch shrugged. His lips were pressed into a thin line. He had the same grim look on his face Louisa’s pa always had when it was time to kill a pig—the look of someone who can’t get out of doing a thing he hates to do.
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