Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ten Gallon Bart and the Wild West Show


Ten-Gallon Bart and the Wild West Show by Susan Stevens Crummel, illustrated by Dorothy Donohue. Full color, cut paper illustrations. Copy provided by the publisher, Marshall Cavendish.

The Plot: Ten Gallon Bart is bored, and finds excitement in the Wild West Show. Ten Gallon Bart's dilemma: to be in the Wild West Show, he not only has to ride the bull -- he has to wake him up.

The Good: Ten Gallon Bart is bored because he is retired: he retired so he could seep until noon, howl at the moon, and go fishing anytime he wanted. But now he was plumb tired of sleeping, plumb tired of howling, and plumb tired of fishing. In fact, he was plumb tired of being retired. What do kids know about being retired? Grandparents are retiring; kids visit them; so the idea of retired is not so foreign. Also, kids know about being bored, and looking for something to do.

I enjoy books that bring something for the more knowing reader/listener, whether it's an adult, older sibling, or older kids. There is plenty here for Western lovers: Gunsmoke references, such as Dog City and Miss Kitty's Place (with Miss Kitty being a cat, of course). Buffalo Gal is a Buffalo; characters include Wyatt Burp.

The illustrations are cut paper; I love collage, the depth it gives, how it makes things look "real" -- even a dog as sheriff. Another reason I love artwork like this; when I look for books to make into feltboards for story time, it is always easier when using a book like this. Plus, it gives great inspiration for craft projects, having kids design their own cut paper works.

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