Cowboy Roy gets a saddle for his birthday, complete with instructions: Find a horse and go for a ride. Trouble is, despite Roy's hat, boots and bandanna, he doesn't know what a horse is—so he goes to find one, encountering first a wagon, then a cactus, then a snake and so on as he narrows down what characteristics describe a horse. Rash's gouache illustrations fill each spread with bold color and movement, and his animals are lively, but his vacuous, blank-eyed people don't appeal. The Wild West theme of the beginning falters when Roy encounters a crab—which looks distinctly peculiar against a saguaro-decorated background—chameleon, sloth—which provides a decent sight gag as its reply to Roy spreads itself out over several panels and, evidently, hours—and lion. Roy's plight lacks either the sweet naïveté of Are You My Mother?
or the zaniness of Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus
. It's silliness without sweetness or charm, and the surprise ending falls flat. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >