Books by Henry Ripplinger

Released: April 1, 1995

A fiercely protective, evocative view of the ties between person and place. Defensive from the start, this book attempts to create an understanding for Bouchard's homeland. Each page begins with the phrase, ``If you're not from the prairie...'' and follows with ``you don't know the sky,'' ``you don't know the wind,'' etc. In snatches of verse, descriptions of the prairie emerge, until Bouchard attests that without knowing these, ``You don't know me.'' In the conclusion, he modifies that stance: ``Unless deep within you, there's somehow a part..../A part of these things that I've said that I know,/...and then we'll be one,/For we will have shared that same blazing sun.'' Only in these last words do readers feel welcomed into the book, and it will be too late for many. After all, a New Englander will ``know cold,'' a Floridian ``wind,'' and a Texan ``flat,'' without any of them setting foot on the prairie. The intrapersonal pitch and repetitions of ``you don't know'' create a crabbed and beleaguered perspective, rather than a wide open, affectionate one. The realistic, intensely colored paintings show children boarding a school bus, repairing a bike, having a snowball fight. In part they reiterate the plain, forthright tone of the book, but make the prairie a place most people will recognize. (Picture book. 6-10) Read full book review >