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Batwings and Bicycles at Home on the Prairie

Cowpoke Clyde Rides the Range, by Lori Mortensen, illustrated by Michael Allen Austin; Clarion Books, $16.99, 32 pages, ages 3-7.

In this
adventurous

follow-up to Cowpoke Clyde and Dirty Dawg, an advertisement for a shiny Springer bicycle convinces Clyde to trade in his spurs for a ten-speed. The cowboy rides his “steel machine” across the prairie, coming perilously close to smashing
to smithereens

a toad, a porcupine, and a herd of Bighorn sheep. After taking a nasty spill, Clyde is ready to pack it in. Will he remember the wisdom of what to do when you fall off a horse? Veteran storyteller Lori Mortensen’s jumpy, funny rhyming couplets are carefree and good-humored, while Michael Allen Austin’s acrylic and colored pencil illustrations of a cowboy and his faithful hound are bright and full of excitement. Don’t miss this read-aloud roundup!

Rodeo Red, by Maripat Perkins, illustrated by Molly Idle; Peachtree Publishers, $16.95, 32 pages, ages 4-8.

If you use Google’s search engine, you probably noticed the nifty animated Doodle celebrating the 155th anniversary of the Pony Express. In honor of those brave Western riders, today we’re looking at a cheeky children’s book with some cowboy flair. Debut children’s book author Maripat Perkins introduces us to Red, a fiery little cowgirl who keeps order in her neck of the woods with the help of her trusty hound dog Rusty. One day, the Sheriff brings home a tiny deputy whom Red nicknames Sideswiping Slim, and eventually, the little whippersnapper starts to mosey into her territory. Red deals with Slim the best way she knows how – but the Sheriff doesn’t approve. How will these two ever get along? Perkins’ examination of dealing with family newcomers is playful and full of cowboy lingo sure to delight rambunctious rugrats. Adorable and inviting pencil drawings, courtesy of Caldecott medal-winning illustrator Molly Idle (Flora and the Flamingo; Camp Rex), are full of warmth and whimsy – a perfect accompaniment for this ruckus-raising hootenanny.