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COWBOY JOSÉ by Susan Middleton Elya


by Susan Middleton Elya & illustrated by Tim Raglin

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: March 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-399-23570-1
Publisher: Putnam

Rollicking rhymed “Spanglish” couplets tell the tale of “Cowboy José, the vaquero” and his faithful horse Feo who “ride ’cross the prairie and belt out a song,” and then get involved with a gal named Rosita, who is pretty—bonita. The story is minimal and predictable. Rosita is a gold digger who loves the vaquero not for himself, but for his dinero. Perhaps to reinforce the tall-tale nature of the story, the lively and humorous cartoon illustrations depict Mexican stereotypes that some may find troubling. The inclusion of Spanish words can be viewed as humorous or educational. Sometimes the verses strain as hard as the characters. “José grips the horse at his middle—su tronco. / His legs squeeze the sides of the wild bucking bronco.” A glossary of Spanish words with pronunciations precedes the story, although many non-Spanish speakers will be able to guess the meanings from the context and repetition in English. Recommended mainly for its language possibilities. (Picture book. 5-9)