The Prairie Thief by Melissa Wiley: Homeschool Study and Book Club Ideas

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The Prairie Thief by Melissa Wiley is a fun book to enjoy as a homeschool study or book club with kids. Readers will take a look at prairie life during the 1800’s with a magical twist. It’s a perfect independent read for your middle-grade reader or a great choice for a family read-aloud.

This post contains book club ideas and discussion questions for an engaging The Prairie Thief homeschool study.

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The Prairie Thief by Melissa Wiley

Genre: Historical Fiction; Folktales and Myths
Length: 224 pages
First Published: 2013

View on Amazon | View on Goodreads


Publisher’s Description of The Prairie Thief

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


My Goodreads Review

Luisa Brody’s Pa has been accused of being a thief, but she is convinced that he has been framed. Now she must live with the Smirch family, the very people who accused her Pa, while he awaits a trial for his alleged crime. While at the Smirches, she and her new friend, Jessamine, encounter a magical creature who has made his home on the prairie. With the help of her new friends and a few new discoveries, Louisa plans to save her Pa from a guilty verdict.

This was a unique historical fiction book for kids which makes it particularly fun to read. Life on the prairie takes an unexpected twist when a magical creature enters the story. Filled with exciting plot twists and a fun courthouse climax, this was a definite winner with my online book club students.



The Prairie Thief Book Club Ideas

There is no way you can host this book club without brownies. (ha!) Cut them into long triangle shapes, similar to the hat a brownie would wear.

Serve warm bowls of potato chowder.

Enjoy a hazelnut spread (like Nutella) on toast.

Make prairie butter (homemade butter in a jar) with your group.

Create a Hide and Seek Hunt. Before your guests arrive, hide household objects around the yard or in strange places around the house. Invited the kids to find the objects that the brownie has “misplaced.”

Grab your supplies, including Gnome Hats for your group to wear:


The Prairie Thief Discussion Questions for Your Homeschool Study

1. Look at the cover of the book. The red barn is historically inaccurate but the publishers thought it was a better choice because it was more eye-catching. Do you agree with their decision?

2. Describe life at the Smirch home. Who lives there? What is it like?

3. This book is full of plot twists. What were some of your favorite? Are there any that you saw coming? Which surprised you the most?

4. What elements of the story make this book historical fiction? What could the reader learn about this time period in history?


Homeschooling With Books: Discussion Questions To Help You Get Started

Grab this set of questions designed to facilitate a fantastic discussion about any book with your kids:

Grab a free copy of discussion questions for any book.


Read more about the author, Jacqueline Davies.

Listen to the author read sections of Prairie Thief out loud on Facebook.


Find ideas for The Prairie Thief homeschool study and book club ideas.

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