What You Know First
is a little treasure for those of us who love the prairie. MacLachlan and Moser are friends and neighbors, and they share the same sense of place. The engraved illustrations are based on old photographs of the MacLachlan and Moser families. The child in the story doesn’t want to leave her farmhouse on the prairie, but hard times force her family to sell. She wants to remember the cottonwood tree she climbed on, her uncle’s cowboy songs, and the rich prairie earth. Moser’s lush engravings capture her longing, and the simple text is like poetry. I could see reading this book to a child who is about to move away, or a child who has just come here. MacLachlan is the author of Sarah, Plain and Tall
and its sequel Skylark
, and Moser has won the National Book Award for his illustrations.