Grasslands by Debra Seely

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In the 1880s, thirteen-year-old Thomas moves west from the aristocratic Virginia home of his grandparents to a poor Kansas farm to live with a father he barely remembers and his new stepfamily.

About Debra Seely

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Debra Seely was inspired to write "Grasslands", her first novel, by the landscape and history of her home state, Kansas. Devoted to Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series as a child, she loved to imagine the lives of children who grew up on the prairie during the pioneer era. She lives in Wichita with her family.
Published October 1, 2002 by Holiday House. 128 pages
Genres: Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, Westerns. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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By the end, remembering a favorite line from The Pilgrim’s Progress, Thomas says, “I had ‘quitted myself like a man.’ ” An excellent coming-of-age story and a must for collections on prairies, cowboy life, and westward expansion after the Civil War.

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Publishers Weekly

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Despite uneven storytelling, this debut novel convincingly illustrates the gaps between the romance of the West and the realities of daily life on a struggling Kansas farm in the early 1880s. At 13

Nov 11 2002 | Read Full Review of Grasslands

Publishers Weekly

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While Thomas has an engaging voice, some aspects of the plotting seem teacherly, as in the introduction of characters who mostly defy stereotypes (e.g., horsewomen and black cowboys), and in the dashing of Thomas's fancies when he is finally swept up in an actual cowboy adventure.

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