The author of The Mommy Club (1991), etc., ventures deep into farcical territory with a Pecos-Bill-style tale--about a Texas misfit who joins the rodeo to find her long-lost father. Sonja Getz would always be out of place in a town like Dorfburg, Texas--the spot where her mother, minuscule Tinka Getz, washed ashore and shortly afterwards gave birth. An adorable blond FrÑulein whose fascination with noble savages led to an unwise affair with a quarter-breed American serviceman in Germany, Tinka landed in Texas unwed and pregnant, but was embraced nevertheless by the sentimental German-Americans she found there. Big-boned, book-addicted Sonja, on the other hand, was left to grow up in utter solitude, comforting herself with fantasies of her absent father, whom she assumed from a publicity photo found in her mother's dresser to be a Navajo trick roper, stoically referring to herself as a woman of color, and operating a faltering pest-control business. When Tinka remarries and kicks 29-year-old Sonja out, the dour young woman marches off to the local rodeo, where she hires quarrelsome trick roper Prairie James to help her find her dad. The mismatched pair rumble across Texas and New Mexico in James's rusty van with his horse, Domino, riding in back, ducking into various rodeos along the way to chat it up with such satisfying potential fathers as wizened old Cootie Ramos and Prairie's former roping mentor, El Marinero. In the end, Sonja learns the horrible truth behind her parentage--but since by that time she's discovered her own amazing talent for rodeo announcing, fallen in love with a refreshment-booth proprietor, and helped rescue Prairie James from his muddled past, the bad news has little effect. Bird's extra-broad, cartoon-like humor here may disappoint ``Mommy Club'' fans--but it's probably safe to say that no one's ever invented a rodeo gal like this before.