cover image Cowboys: Roundup on an American Ranch

Cowboys: Roundup on an American Ranch

Joan Anderson. Scholastic, $16.95 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-590-48424-4

For a firsthand look at life on a working ranch, cowpoke wanna-bes should belly up to this thoroughly engaging photo-essay. Longtime collaborators Anderson and Ancona (The American Family Farm) spent two weeks with the Eby family in New Mexico, chronicling the hustle and bustle of spring roundup. Shadowing the Eby boys-ages 11 and 13-their parents and the hired hands, Anderson's smooth narrative and Ancona's vivid photographs capture the drama and drudgery of life on the range. A couple of scenes may be disturbing to particularly sensitive readers-there's a somewhat dark photo of a partially decomposed calf killed by a predator, and an up-close look at branding- but the matter-of-fact presentation helps put the material in perspective. From breaking a high-spirited filly to riding through the sagebrush in search of straying cattle, this is the real thing, a slice of the American West that will quickly lasso the imaginations of young buckaroos. Ages 7-up. (Mar.)