The Beef Princess of Practical County by Michelle Houts (April 14, 2009--Delacorte
Grade: 3 stars out of 5
Summary:"After years of waiting, it is finally Libby Ryan’s turn to shine at the Practical County Fair. Libby is filled with excitement as she and her granddad pick out two calves for her to raise on her family’s cattle farm, in hopes of winning the annual steer competition. Against her father’s advice, Libby gives the calves names, even though both steers will eventually be
auctioned off. After a few months of preparing for the Practical County Fair, Libby finds that she is growing closer to her steers with each passing day, and the pressure to win Grand Champion is mounting.
Luckily, Libby can count on her best friend to get her through most of the county fair chaos. Yet once reality sets in and she realizes that her steers will soon be sold to the highest bidder, the chaos in Libby’s heart becomes
too much to bear."
Review: One of the odder storylines, Beef Princess still manages to hold onto the readers’ attention while maintaining its rural background.
I am not quite sure what to say about this book—it is unlike anything else I have read. The storyline focuses more of the growth of the steers and Libby’s ambition to make her father proud. In some ways I can relate to Libby. Being overshadowed to an older sibling you are forever compared to and judged by their accomplishments. Can you do better? The struggle to perform well is what drives Libby. Even so you have a great admiration for your old your sibling and Michelle Houts show that through Libby’s training with her brother’s help.
The more agricultural background shows a great deal of knowledge from the author and she crafts it into the novel quite well. She talks about caring for the animals, machinery, contests, and the job to raise and let go of some of your cuddly friends.
Michelle Houts was also able to bring in some humor to the book. I found the names to be the most funniest. From Precious, Lil, and Ohma their last name Darling combined gives off a “what were the parents thinking” type of chuckle. I found the irony of naming the steers other animal names, such as Piggy and Mule, was cute.
I feel that if the book fell into a different set of hands it might have received a bit higher grade. While some scenes were adorable the overall set of tone childish (being a 12-year-old girl I kind of expected this). The plotline was slightly drab and predictable.
Overall: The Beef Princess of Practical County manages to showcase a good old county side lovin’ with an interesting set of views.