K-Gr 3A story, told as if by Will Rogers, of the life of the female sharpshooter. The basic outline seems to be fairly close to fact: the hardships of Annie's poverty-stricken childhood, her learning to shoot to put meat on the family table, her partnership and marriage to Frank Butler, and her career with Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show, including her adoption by Sitting Bull. The fictionalizing consists primarily of invented conversations and omissions, such as the train wreck that temporarily crippled Annie. The emphasis is on her glory days as a touring performer; it's hard to see what is gained by the introduction of Will Rogers as the narrator, however. The illustrations are full-color paintings, done in a lively style that employs dramatic angles and lighting effects, as well as faces that are so expressive as to approach caricature (for example, the inhabitants of the royal box feature a loony Michael, Grand Duke of Russia, and a zonked Queen Victoria). They almost appear to be storyboard sketches for an animated film. The audiocassette accompanying the book does not follow the text word by word. It is read by actor Keith Carradine in a laid-back drawl that seems fitting for Will Rogers, and the music, by the group Los Lobos, ranges from hoe-down to Native American without missing a beat. Since the story doesn't have enough facts to be useful for reports, buy it for the lively pictures and professional-quality audio.Pam Gosner, Maplewood Memorial Library, NJ
James Howard Kunstler is the author of eight novels. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and an editor for Rolling Stone, and is a frequent contributor to The New York Times Sunday Magazine. He lives in upstate New York.