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or, How the Wild West Was Tamed

by John Frank & illustrated by Zachary Pullen

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-689-83461-6
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

This tall tale—which demystifies the taming of the Wild West—stars cowboy Grizz Brickbottom, who flosses with barbed wire and drinks a quart of Tabasco sauce a day. One lonely night by the campfire, Grizz decides it’s time for some silkier, sweeter company than his crusty compadres. Specifically, a dog. As luck would have it, he finds a “Free Dog” sign in a nearby town, and here’s the punchline: the free dog is a fluffy miniature poodle named Foofy! The poodle’s contrast with the rough-and-tumble cowpokes serves up plenty of sight gags, as the next thing you know they’re fussing over her food and grooming, even tying little bows in her hair. Once nomads, the cowboys move to town and set up shop because they all become fond of bathing and the smell of soap. Thus, the Wild West is tamed. Pullen’s comical oil paintings, with their stunning Western landscapes and deliberately distorted cowboy caricatures, fit this clever tall-tale read-aloud to a T. The full-bleed photographs of burlap on the endpapers are a nice touch, too. (Picture book. 4-8)