cover image I WANT TO BE A COWGIRL


Jeanne Willis, , illus. by Tony Ross. . Holt, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-6997-6

In this pert, pint-size take on "Don't Fence Me In," a spunky narrator rejects being "a girly girl" and the cushy urban life in "our twenty-story flat" and tells her uptight, apparently single dad that she yearns for the Wild Wild West. Deceptively lighthearted ink-and-watercolor illustrations wryly follow the girl as she does her best to create a home on the range in the middle of the city: she cuts a pair of chaps out of the shag rug (her father's reaction is unrecorded, but a subsequent scene shows the rug inexpertly stitched back together), admires a Stetson at a boutique, serenades alley cats in the rain on her guitar, and imagines clouds as, variously, giant saguaros, cattle, wagons, etc. Humor abounds in the way the girl's fantasies unfold in the pictures, and the ending issues a playful exhortation to the girl's father: "Come and be a cowboy too!" Ages 4-8. (Apr.)