Cowboy Boyd and Mighty Calliope

Overview

There's no other horse quite like Calliope. She's short. She's slow. She's lumpy. She's a rhinoceros. Still, Cowboy Boyd has a real strong belief in Calliope and her ability to help out the crew at the Double R Ranch. Boyd and Calliope try to prove themselves to the ranchers by rounding up strays and hauling posts, but it just doesn't look like it's going to work out. That is, until a storm drives all the cattle away from the ranch. They need someone real special to bring them ...

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Overview

There's no other horse quite like Calliope. She's short. She's slow. She's lumpy. She's a rhinoceros. Still, Cowboy Boyd has a real strong belief in Calliope and her ability to help out the crew at the Double R Ranch. Boyd and Calliope try to prove themselves to the ranchers by rounding up strays and hauling posts, but it just doesn't look like it's going to work out. That is, until a storm drives all the cattle away from the ranch. They need someone real special to bring them back. . . . 

Lisa Moser brings her trademark humor and strong structure to this smart and silly story of a cowboy and his beloved steed—a rhinoceros.  

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Sarah Harrison Smith
Moser's use of cowboy cadence punctuated by noises like "Ker-thud!" and "Blam!" will have readers raising a ruckus loud enough to keep the coyotes at bay.
Publishers Weekly
A horse is a horse, of course, except when it’s a rhinoceros. That’s the silly, unstated backstory in Moser’s upbeat tale about a kind young cowboy’s unwavering faith in his trusted mount. When Cowboy Boyd rides onto the Double R ranch atop his horned “horse,” Calliope, the pair has everyone scratching their heads. Rancher Rose and ranch hands Slim and Hardtack agree that Calliope is the shortest, dustiest, and lumpiest horse they’ve ever seen—she’s also slow, clumsy, and unwittingly destructive. “I got a real strong belief in Calliope,” Boyd maintains, and a crisis on the ranch gives Calliope a chance to prove she’s worthy of such support. With easy-flowing dialogue and lots of onomatopoeia (“Calliope plodded to the pasture and... BLAM! Straight through the pasture fence”), Moser (Railroad Hank) plays Boyd’s sweet naiveté against the ranchers’ deadpan expressions of concern to great humorous effect. Belgian illustrator Van Doninck, in his U.S. debut, contributes comic figures with long, rubbery limbs who mosey across mustard landscapes dotted with mesas and cacti, consistently keeping readers in on the joke of Calliope’s lineage. Ages 3–7. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Denise Hartzler
In Lisa Moser’s new book, Cowboy Boyd and Mighty Calliope, a young cowboy and his trusty rhinoceros must try to prove themselves at the Double R Ranch, where Slim, Hardtack and Rancher Rose doubt Calliope’s potential. But Cowboy Boyd believes in her. Rancher Rose and the ranch hands inspect Calliope pointing out her differences from other horses but Cowboy Boyd reassures them that while she’s rare, she is steady and they are a hard working team that will not let the ranch down. As Moser takes readers through a day’s worth of chores on the ranch, children will delight in the seeing how Cowboy Boyd and Calliope make the Double R Ranch their new home. The narration beckons the reader to read with a twang, which enhances the story and is guaranteed to keep young audiences engaged. The bright, colorful illustrations by Van Doninck make the store all the more delightful. Reviewer: Denise Hartzler AGERANGE: Ages 4 up.
Kirkus Reviews
A cowboy and his rhino (yes, rhino!) defy convention in this fresh and funny tale. Van Doninck and Moser transport readers into the American West as their heroes--silhouetted by the rising sun--ride toward the Double R Ranch hoping to find work and a home. Yet something about this idyllic picture is amiss. Calliope, as the ranch hands invariably note, is different. Unfamiliar with rhinoceroses, everyone mistakes her for a horse, leading to some misplaced expectations. Boyd, however, is an ever-faithful friend, always noting his four-legged pal's positive qualities. His one-sided view and her different skill set cost them their jobs one by one, until the cattle get loose and Calliope saves the day. Digital illustrations feel handcrafted, and the details offer a tactile sensibility that gives the animals weight and warmth. The characters are also loose and spontaneous, and a warm palette echoes the desert setting. Visuals perfectly match text, and adult readers may find a Sam Elliott lilt inflicting their voices. Phrasing and use of onomatopoeia also contribute to the story's comedic moments, accentuated by a design that integrates images with text. The silly situation bolsters the themes of kindness, friendship and acceptance, as the characters learn to have a strong belief in each other. A ten-gallon hat full of fun, with a heartfelt message to boot. (Picture book. 3-7)
From the Publisher
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2013:"A ten-gallon hat full of fun, with a heartfelt message to boot."
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Rancher Rose and her hired hands are skeptical when Cowboy Boyd and his unusual mount arrive for a job at the Double R Ranch. As it happens, Calliope is a sensitive and affectionate rhinoceros-though she is not a very good ranch horse. Each task that she attempts ends in failure and, unsurprisingly, the very night that Rancher Rose tells Boyd and Calliope to "roll on," a situation arises where only her unique talents can provide a happy ending. The bright, playful illustrations feature saguaro and tumbleweed, with towering buttes fading into the background and an abundance of wildlife. The figures are expressive and exaggerated and add a great deal of humor to the text. Cowboy Boyd never gives up: "I got a real strong belief in Calliope," and readers can't help but root for the charming rhinoceros with her eager-to-please smile, demure manner, and long dainty eyelashes. Although the plot isn't fresh, the oddball premise and strong setting make this a fun choice for read-alouds and older storytimes, especially for readers who can pull off a good twang.—Anna Haase Krueger, Ramsey County Library, White Bear Lake, MN
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375870569
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 8/27/2013
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 396,895
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

LISA MOSER is the author of Squirrel's World, which is on the 2010–2011 Texas Bluebonnet Master List; The Monster in the Backpack; Watermelon Wishes; Kisses on the Wind, which received an Oppenheimer Toy Gold Seal; Perfect Soup; and Railroad Hank. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Marty, and their daughter, Lydia.

SEBASTIAAN VAN DONINCK grew up in a small town surrounded by cows, trees, and twelve brothers and sisters. Today he is an illustrator and teacher living in Antwerp, Belgium. 

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