BORN TO BE A COWGIRL by Candace Savage


A Spirited Ride Through the Old West
Age Range: 9 - 11
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A disjointed scrapbook of anecdotes and journal entries, strung together with archival photos. Savage begins with the life of Fannie Sperry, a spirited 19-year-old Montana native who tamed the wild roan, Blue Dog, and was known for her talent for riding untamed horses. Sperry remains the touchstone throughout the remainder of the work—sometimes rather awkwardly. The collection of cowgirl photos should have been the strength here, but too many unsuitable choices have been made for the layout. Sentences cut over two pages to make way for full-paged “sidebars.” And Savage’s definition of the “Old West” is somewhat confusing: she ranges from Montana to Texas to Calgary, Alberta (with no mention that Alberta is in Canada). A map or two would have been a welcome addition. Time periods shift at the author’s whim—the page after a description of the events of 1906 is illustrated with a picture from the 1890s; turn the page: 1911. The fashions of the times were very important to the riders, yet one illustration is merely a faint line drawing from a catalogue, reproduced in pale green ink. The disconnect between illustration and text continues to the very end with a quote from 88-year-old Fannie, paired with a photo of three other female “friends and competitors.” Given the dearth of good material on this subject, readers will be very disappointed in this less than inspired ride. Skip it. (glossary, index, source notes, bibliography of books, videos, and Web sites) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2001
ISBN: 1-58246-019-1
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Tricycle
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2001