A little boy longs for a life out on the open frontier.
Luke's dreams transport him from his family near the ocean to his new role as a cowboy at the Wymont Ranch. Photographs capture the change of scenery and his routine; his initially serious, quiet reality (reflected in black-and-white images) morphs into crisp, colored shots. The child is almost too small for his Western britches (accessorized with dangling lasso and wide-brimmed black cowboy hat). He stares intently at the audience, the accompanying one-word block of text (“Tex”) reveals his adopted name. His somber expressions continue until care for his pony Thunder evokes unadulterated joy. Brief statements (“Tex loves mountains”) placed against solid backgrounds describe typical activities but allow the photographs to do most of the talking. The young ranchhand remains hard at work, completing typical chores, then sprawls in relaxation; he herds cattle, irrigates fields and lounges with his cowdog Sue. While he leads his pony into the great unknown, the final page turn returns to sleeping Luke; his wrangler-designed sheets the only remnant of his alter ego. The photographs capture breathtaking natural beauty, though some posed pictures more readily recall advertisements than the genuine experience of a youngster at play.
This ode to the range emphasizes the enduring allure of the American West. (Picture book. 3-5)