Ride 'Em, Cowboy!
Kate McMullan, illus. by Lorelay Bove. Disney Press, $15.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4231-1056-9
Readers who can't get enough of Woody, Buzz Lightyear and crew will welcome this spinoff story from the Disney/Pixar films. But it's not the boys who come out on top; instead, Jessie the cowgirl dominates when young Andy leaves for a rodeo and the toys, home alone, decide to stage one of their own. Bove, a visual development artist for Disney, renders the familiar characters in soft-edged portraits that give them a retro vibe, with backgrounds marked by wood paneling and other vintage-feeling patterns underscoring that idea. Rodeo-poster typography adds punch to notable moments, helping emphasize Woody's scream as he loses his grip in the bull-riding event, as well as Buzz's trademark response%E2%80%94"To infinity and beyond!"%E2%80%94as Woody soars skyward. It's all conversation and action, and McMullan's (I Stink!) gags provide lots of laughs: as Woody struggles to hogtie Hamm the piggy bank, the pig quips "Give it up, Woody.... I'm packin' twelve-fifty in quarters." Jessie's triumph and Woody's gracious concession ("You know, it doesn't matter who's champ.... It's all about having fun with the other cowpokes") supply an easy-to-swallow moral. Ages 3%E2%80%947. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 10/12/2009