cover image Cowboy Ed

Cowboy Ed

Bill Grossman. HarperCollins Publishers, $15 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-021570-5

Once again Grossman ( Tommy at the Grocery Store ; Donna O'Neeshuck Was Chased by Some Cows ) serves up a rip-roaring escapade told in rollicking verse. Young Cowboy Ed takes a midnight journey to a fantasy frontier where ``the horses / Rode the cowboys-- / The plows were pulled / By plowboys, and the people / Put their underwear on last.'' Because, of course, ``That's the way we've always done it in the past.'' When the skies rain down not just cats and dogs but a zoo's worth of animals, the tradition-bound prairie dwellers are stumped. Enter Cowboy Ed, maverick, hero and animal-tickler extraordinaire, who shoos away the beasts with nothing more than a feather. Wint's ultra-modern, topsy-turvy illustrations keep apace with the hurtling text, supplying the requisite chaos by featuring countless creatures dressed in bright, circusy garb (and no underwear in sight!). Intense yellows, oranges and pinks with an overwash of gray are set against a starry black sky, reinforcing the nocturnal quality of the adventure. Amid the rampant silliness is a pithy plug for independent thinking: ``The folks had learned from Ed / That it's best to use your head / And to never mind what happened in the past.'' Ages 3-7. (June)