BORN TO BE A COWGIRL: A Spirited Ride Through the Old West

Candace Sherk Savage, Author . Tricycle $15.95 (64p) ISBN 978-1-58246-019-2 ISBN 1-58246-020-5

This survey highlights the vigorous horsewomen who helped shape the West. Savage (author of the adult title Cowgirls) focuses on the daring girls and women who defied convention to ride horses, lasso cattle and buck broncos. The historical context is unfortunately oversimplified, such as the explanation that people moved West because "the East became grimy and crowded." But lovers of horses and fans of cowboy lore will enjoy these tales about individual women. Rodeo star Fannie Sperry, born in Montana in 1887, learned how to ride as a toddler: her mother simply placed her on the back of a gentle horse and told her not to fall off. A cowboy relates how the best hand on the cattle drive turned out to be a girl who had camouflaged herself as a boy. Better still are sidebars that present the cowgirls in their own words. In one, a Texas cowgirl defies her father and enters a bull-riding competition in the first All Girl Rodeo, "but I broke my hand in nine places. I didn't get bucked off. I broke it gripping so hard." A host of handsomely tinted vintage photographs showcase the power of these female cowhands, seen here wrestling calves to the ground and jumping over everything from fences to cars. A browser's delight. Ages 8-up. (May)

Reviewed on: 05/07/2001
Release date: 03/01/2004
Genre: Children's
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