About the Book
Set between Kansas and Saskatchewan in 1907, this middle-grade novel follows a young boy who gets separated from his family en route to Canada and must find his way alone across the immense prairie landscape.
Following the sudden death of his eldest brother, twelve-year-old Peter is chosen by his father to travel by train from Kansas to Saskatchewan to help set up the new family homestead. But when Peter’s boxcar becomes uncoupled from the rest of the train somewhere in South Dakota, he finds himself lost and alone on the vast prairie.
For a sheltered boy who has only read about adventures in books, Peter is both thrilled and terrified by the journey ahead. Along the way, he faces real dangers, from poisonous snakes to barn fires; meets people from all walks of life, including famous author Mark Twain; and grows more resourceful, courageous, and self-reliant as he makes his way across the Midwest to the Canadian border, eventually reaching his new home in Drake, Saskatchewan. The journey expands Peter’s view of the world and shows him that the bonds of family and community, regardless of background, are universal and filled with love. Packed with excitement and adventure, this coming-of-age novel features a strong and likeable young protagonist and paints a realistic portrait of prairie life in the early twentieth century.
Study Guide included in the book
"Readers ages 8-12 will find excitement on every page as they trace Peter’s journey north."
—Winnipeg Free Press
"Lost on the Prairie will not only be a popular read for the intended audience, but it will be one that parents and grandparents will enjoy sharing. Highly Recommended"
—CM: Canadian Review of Materials
“Lost on the Prairie is a terrific read and full of great adventures. The author really lets you get inside the hero Peter’s head. I was holding my breath in so many places in the book including when Peter almost missed the train in Winnipeg. I really admired the research that was done to make the story authentic. I loved that Mark Twain is in the book as a real person. I also liked the combination of fiction and real-life, and the family photos that were included. I look forward to the author’s next book.”
—Beryl Young, award-winning author for children
“Lost on the Prairie had my attention from the first line to the last. I loved the plot, the characters, the quick pace, the details incorporated that made the time period come alive, the rich language and clever phrases that often made me chuckle... In short, I loved everything about the book. Kids and teachers are going to love it, too. and I hope the book has a long and happy life on the bestseller list where it surely belongs.”
—Larry Verstraete, award-winning children’s writer
"What an adventure! It starts off with a bang and the action doesn’t let up. I know lots of students in my grade 8 class who will enjoy this book. The back matter is equally fun to read because I got to learn about the author’s connection to the story and which parts were based on fact. The main character grows and changes through his adventures. Honestly, I read this book in a day because it was such fun and so hard to put down. Lost on the Prairie will be a welcome addition in any grade 4-8 classroom."
—Colleen Nelson, award-winning writer for children
"When MaryLou Driedger learned of a period when her grandfather, then a preteen boy, had gone missing during his family’s emigration from Kansas to Saskatchewan, she began research on what conditions of 1907 might have meant for such a journey. Based on what she learned, and fueled by imagination, she wrote this compelling adventure story about a boy named Peter."
—BC Books for BC Schools