COWBOY GHOST by Robert Newton Peck


Age Range: 11 - 13


A disastrous cattle drive turns a boy into a man in this ripsnorter, set in Florida where, Peck (Soup Ahoy, 1994, etc.) avers, “the American cowboy originated.” Slight of figure, especially next to his huge, gentle older brother Micah, Titus MacRobertson never skirts a challenge, so when he’s drafted at 16 to help drive his father’s cattle over several hundred miles to the stockyards at Homestead, he looks on it as a golden opportunity to prove himself. Those miles turn out to be rough ones, filled with filthy, exhausting work, with Seminoles and cowdiggers (rustlers) lying in wait, and tragedy too; after a wild storm leaves both Micah and the drive’s foreman dead, Titus has to take charge, a task made considerably more difficult after he takes a bullet in the belly. The author adds substance to the story with a thoughtful subplot involving Titus, Micah, and their tough, grieving father; readers who delight in the colorful language and robust characters—from aptly named cowhands Spout, Vinegar, Hoofrot, and Bug Eye, to the housekeeper Mrs. Krickitt, with her “temper that could spit upwind and bust a window”—have one more reason to find Titus’s coming of age a particularly memorable one. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: March 31st, 1999
ISBN: 0-06-028168-5
Page count: 210pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1998


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