Book review: Real Cowboys, by Kate Hoefler, illustrated by Jonathan Bean

Hoefler, Kate. Real Cowboys. Illustrated by Jonathan Bean. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. Unpaged. $16.99. ISBN 9780544148925. Ages 3-6, Adult. P8 Q9

hoefler-real-cowboysSimple declarative statements combined with spare, four-color computer-enhanced stencils creates a praise poem introducing cowboys’ lives to young children.  Linking lines such as “Real cowboys are gentle” with the block print of a mother cow guarding her calf brings the reader into a world not of swashbuckling, but of gentle care in a lonely land.  The text also describes cowboys as “as many different colors as the earth” and states that “Real cowboys are girls, too.” Bean’s stencil work includes such homely details as plaid shirts, spotted bandanas and stitching on chaps.

Verdict: I have liked this book more each time I’ve read it.  Highly recommended for preschool through elementary school as well as public library collections.  I would also recommend it as a gift to share with takes joy in working the land.

December 2016 review by Jane Cothron.

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