Children's books and book reviews - reading resource for kids, teachers, librarians, parents

Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

*Cowboy Stories* illustrated by Barry Moser- young adult book review
Also illustrated by Barry Moser:

Once Upon a Twice
Cowboy Stories
illustrated by Barry Moser
Ages 15+ 184 pages Chronicle Books July 2007 Hardcover    

In his introduction to this crusty, satisfying collection, Peter Glassman writes that “nothing is so strikingly American as the cowboy.” The iconic cowboy, Glassman notes, is at once a loner and a member of “a special fraternity”—a fraternity we all recognize from every cowboy movie we’ve ever seen. The world has long carried on a love affair with the American cowboy: Witness Europe’s rapt reception of Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show a century ago, Italy’s “spaghetti Western” films of the ‘60s and ‘70s, the long-running French-language comic book series Lucky Luke, and the like. The lone figure is even used by the world press to characterize a sitting American president.

Cowboy Stories rounds up a passel of tales that range from darkly grim to bleakly realistic to firmly tongue-in-cheek. An excerpt from Jack Schaefer’s beloved Shane heads up the collection, followed by a longer selection from Larry McMurtry’s devastating Lonesome Dove. Other excerpts from longer works include Riders of the Purple Sage (Zane Grey) and Breaking Clean (Judy Blunt).

This collection is generous in its breadth, encompassing works by earlier writers such as Stephen Crane (“Twelve O’Clock”) and O. Henry (“The Reformation of Calliope”), “genre” giants like Louis L’Amour (“The Gift of Cochise”), and contemporary authors (“The Blood Bay” by Annie Proulx, among others). Western film buffs will recognize a few stories that served as the foundation for popular movies Shane, Lonesome Dove and Elmore Leonard’s 3:10 to Yuma among them.

Cowboy Stories does as much, perhaps, to shatter the romantic image of the swaggering, suave cowboy as it does to perpetuate it. An excerpt from Tom Groneberg’s The Secret Life of Cowboys peels back the shiny wrapping from a chapter in a working cowboy’s life to reveal missing thumbs, mudcaked boots and stinking piles of manure. Proulx’s clever “The Blood Bay”—as laconic as a sunburned cowpoke riding herd on a quiet prairie—demonstrates the humorous nascence of some cowboy talltales.

Illustrated with 22 handwrought engravings by artist Barry Moser and artfully bound, this collection of stories may contain a new find or two for fans of Western literature. With 21 short stories or excerpts by well-regarded writers, Cowboy Stories makes good bedtime reading. Be sure to take your spurs off first, pard.

Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

click here to browse children's board book reviews
click here to browse children's picture book reviews
click here to browse young readers book reviews
click here to browse young readers book reviews
click here to browse young adult book reviews
click here to browse parenting book reviews
web reviews
  Erica Jeffrey/2007 for curled up with a good kid's book  

For grown-up fiction, nonfiction and speculative fiction book reviews,
visit our sister site Curled Up With a Good Book (