Chico

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Sandra loves ranch life. Most of all, she loves riding her pony, Chico. But a ride to visit a new calf ends in a terrifying encounter with a rattlesnake. Sandra learns an important lesson about taking care of herself and her horse—and about overcoming her fears.

In this story, based on a true-life incident, young Sandra demonstrates the forthright spirit that gave her the courage and confidence to become the first woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court. Her adventure ...

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Overview

Sandra loves ranch life. Most of all, she loves riding her pony, Chico. But a ride to visit a new calf ends in a terrifying encounter with a rattlesnake. Sandra learns an important lesson about taking care of herself and her horse—and about overcoming her fears.

In this story, based on a true-life incident, young Sandra demonstrates the forthright spirit that gave her the courage and confidence to become the first woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court. Her adventure with Chico in the desert landscape is breathtakingly rendered by celebrated painter Dan Andreasen.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
After co-authoring a book for adults with her brother about growing up on a cattle ranch (Lazy B), the first woman Supreme Court justice ventures into the children's book arena with a similarly themed tale-just as she's about to depart the court. O'Connor initially sets the scene of her childhood home in the desert southwest: "Sandra liked to explore the ranch and to look for rabbits, antelope, skunks, badgers, birds, and turtles. But she knew she should stay away from the sharp thorns on the cactus, and from scorpions and coyotes." One day, she rides her beloved horse, Chico, to see a newborn calf in a distant pasture. As the six-year-old rides off alone, references to rattlesnakes create a slight sense of foreboding; that inevitable encounter and a later thunderstorm provide some drama to the "day-in-the-life" narrative. The length of the text may make this better suited to more fluent readers, while the age of the heroine might appeal more to a younger audience. Still, O'Connor's tale will likely interest youngsters, with its portrayal of a life on the range so different from most children's experiences. Andreasen's (Little Spotted Cat) realistic paintings bring the ranch to life, with background details such as barbed wire fences, flowering yuccas and hawks overhead. The palette changes with the coming storm, the dusty browns and sage greens set against a sky that ranges from pale blue to turquoise. Ages 5-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-In this engaging picture book, Justice O'Connor shares a story from when she was six years old. She grew up on her family's Arizona ranch, where she helped with kitchen and barn chores. She liked to watch the antelope and was taught to avoid rattlesnakes. Horses were her favorite animal; she learned to ride when she was five. Although her mother instructed her to stay close to home, on one particularly exciting day, she rode Chico a distance from the house to look at a new baby calf. On the way back, they encountered a rattlesnake in their path. The fear on both faces is captured in one of Andreasen's gorgeous paintings. The pictures are done in muted colors and show the wonder of nature in the Southwest, from a fierce thunderstorm to a clearing sky with a rainbow. The author's warm relationship with her parents, her plucky spirit, and the animals on the ranch and in the desert make this a wonderful read. Although O'Connor does not mention anything about her future career as the first woman Supreme Court Justice, this book would be of interest to children studying women's history.-Heather Ver Voort, Washington West Elementary, Olean, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
O'Connor offers a straightforward, plainspoken story taken from her own childhood, but told as an observer, not in her own voice. It's a simple tale, of a six-year-old girl who has been riding since before she could walk, and her horse Chico. Sandra knows how to take care of her horse, and that she isn't to ride too far from the house. But when a new calf is born, she wants to see it, and rides out a bit farther than usual. When Chico is startled by a rattlesnake, Sandra is very frightened but rides him quickly out of the way and home. When her dad asks if she wants to go to see the calf again, Sandra conquers her fear and goes with him, satisfied that the snake is no longer a danger to her or to the calf. Andreasen's figures are somewhat static, but he captures wonderfully the big sky and wide expanses of a southwest cattle ranch. O'Connor's formal style is a bit stiff, making the whole effort a little reserved, but this is still considerably better than most "celebrity" picture books. (Picture book/biography. 5-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525474524
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/28/2005
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.54 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.44 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2005

    A learning experience for the city kids

    The illustrations and the story are delightful. I read this book with my niece and my nephew, both New York City kids. They were fascinated by the birth of the baby calf, the rattlesnake, the antelope, the big windmill, and of course, the beautiful Chico. At the end, they told me, 'We want to go see where Sandra lives and find the rainbow!' When a story generates curiosity in a child, I consider it 'Mission accomplished!'

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