The story of famed rodeo queen Lucille Mulhall is retold as a lesson in girl power and following one's dreams.
As a girl growing up in the 1890s in Oklahoma, Lucille showed a natural talent for roping and horse riding, pursuits that weren't considered ladylike at the time. But through dedication and the support of her father, Col. Zack Mulhall, Lucille impressed others with her skills, besting boys in competitions and eventually performing for then–vice president Teddy Roosevelt. She toured the world as her fame grew, paving the way for other cowgirls. As told by Lang, who previously wrote about Olympian Alice Coachman (Queen of the Track, illustrated by Floyd Cooper, 2012), Mulhall's life was filled with doubters she proved wrong with undeniable skill. Though there's plenty of history, including a supplemental two-page biography and timeline in the backmatter (though no sources), there's no lack of sass and color. Lang writes colloquially ("Colonel Mulhall reckoned it was a fine idea") without overdoing it. The rodeo scenes contain the right amount of suspense, given Lucille's obvious trajectory. Illustrations are expressively bright and splashy, with amusing expressions on the roped horses and cattle as well as more staid representations of the vast Oklahoma landscape.
Mulhall may not be a household name, but Lang makes her memorable for anyone who admires go-getters who beat the odds and break barriers. (Picture book/biography. 4-8)