cover image Cowboy Charlie: The Story of Charles M. Russell

Cowboy Charlie: The Story of Charles M. Russell

Jeanette Winter. Harcourt Children's Books, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-200857-4

Born in St. Louis ""in the days when buffalo still roamed the West,"" Charlie dreams of being a cowboy. At 15, he travels to the Montana frontier, and there he spends the rest of his days, riding the range, hunting and trapping, even living with the Blood Indians for a time. Finally, after waves of settlers, ``Barbed-wire fences were everywhere. The great herds of buffalo were gone.'' Charlie retires to a log cabin studio and paints ``the story of the Wild West.'' In fact, Charlie is a historical figure, Charles M. Russell, whose paintings and sculptures are now exhibited in museums. Winter (Diego; Sleepy River) documents the cowpoke's career and the landscape he loved in a series of expansive portraits (including one four-page gatefold) that showcase her own unmistakable talent. Stylized, slightly primitive characters and settings are rendered in a wholly unexpected palette-mauve clouds float against a cantaloupe sky, sheep graze in a turquoise field-for an effect that's both timeless and cutting-edge. Ages 4-up. (Sept.)