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Cowboy Slim    by Julie Danneberg & Margot Apple order for
Cowboy Slim
by Julie Danneberg
Order:  USA  Can
Charlesbridge, 2006 (2006)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

Cowboys have been getting a lot of media attention lately for not acting as they are expected to act. Cowboy Slim tells the story of a cowboy who spends his time writing poetry and then reading it aloud to any animal who happens to be listening. The other cowboys and cowgirls on the range tease him, saying that he is not a real cowboy.

Slim gives up writing poetry on paper, but can't help creating verses in his head while out on the range. Though he decides that he does not belong, in the end Slim manages to save the day by reciting his familiar poetry, and inadvertently calming a stampeding herd. 

The book's message is simply to take pride in who you are and not to hide your gifts, for they may come in handy some day. Danneberg includes historical information at the end of the book about the true-life tradition of cowboys as poets. The illustrations contain lots of yellows and greens, capturing the Western feel of the landscape. 

Danneberg uses rhythmic, authentic language: 'And although the dust stung his eyes and the whittle-whangin' of the bawlin’ cattle tried his patience, the clip-clop rhythm of the ride started tappin' itself into a poem in Slim's mind.' The Buckaroo Banter glossary in the back helpfully defines some terms used in the book. Otherwise, I never would have known that whittle-whangin' means quarreling, or that jingle your spurs means to hurry up.

Tip: When reading the book aloud, it is best to employ a cowboy dialect! Now ain't that a dinger?

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