Cowboy Charlie: The Story of Charles M. Russell

Overview

Young Charles Russell wanted to be a cowboy, so just two weeks shy of his sixteenth birthday, the determined Charlie boarded a train heading to the frontier. There, in 1880, in the land of buffalo, Indians, and open prairie, Charlie found his home. And there he became a painter-but not just any painter. Today Charles M. Russell is considered one of the greatest artists of the American West and one who opened its door to so many.

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Overview

Young Charles Russell wanted to be a cowboy, so just two weeks shy of his sixteenth birthday, the determined Charlie boarded a train heading to the frontier. There, in 1880, in the land of buffalo, Indians, and open prairie, Charlie found his home. And there he became a painter-but not just any painter. Today Charles M. Russell is considered one of the greatest artists of the American West and one who opened its door to so many.

Young Charlie has a dream--to go west, to be a cowboy. Two weeks shy of his 16th birthday, Charlie is on a train to the frontier. There, in 1880, Charlie finds his home and becomes a painter--but not just any painter. Today Charles M. Russell is considered one of the greatest artists of the American West, opening the door to so many. Full color.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Born in St. Louis "in the days when buffalo still roamed the West," Charlie dreams of being a cowboy. At 15, he travels to the Montana frontier, and there he spends the rest of his days, riding the range, hunting and trapping, even living with the Blood Indians for a time. Finally, after waves of settlers, ``Barbed-wire fences were everywhere. The great herds of buffalo were gone.'' Charlie retires to a log cabin studio and paints ``the story of the Wild West.'' In fact, Charlie is a historical figure, Charles M. Russell, whose paintings and sculptures are now exhibited in museums. Winter Diego; Sleepy River documents the cowpoke's career and the landscape he loved in a series of expansive portraits including one four-page gatefold that showcase her own unmistakable talent. Stylized, slightly primitive characters and settings are rendered in a wholly unexpected palette-mauve clouds float against a cantaloupe sky, sheep graze in a turquoise field-for an effect that's both timeless and cutting-edge. Ages 4-up. Sept.
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Charles M. Russell (1864-1926) fell in love with the West as a child growing up in St. Louis. At fifteen he took off for Montana to become a cowboy, live with Indians, and catch the final glimpses of a dying life-style that he would spend the remainder of his years memorializing in paintings. Winter's gentle narrative and naif acrylic illustrations beautifully capture a child's dreams and their realization and capture the mythic spirit of the old West.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Through a young boy's dream of moving west and being a cowboy, Winter introduces Charles Russell, great American painter. Her stylized acrylics serve Charlie well, from pictures of his boyhood imaginings of frontier life to the realities of the wide, sprawling prairies teaming with wildlife to the bustling activities of the towns in the Old West and the cowhands. One fold-out page is especially effective for the panoramic view, but will be delicate for young library users. The author convincingly shows Russell's love for all prairie cultures, portraying his life with the Blood Indians with dignity and compassion. A final biographical note gives further information concerning honors Russell received and locations of his paintings. Large, horizontal spreads laced with spare text make Cowboy Charlie ideal for group sharing and independent daydreaming.-Claudia Cooper, Ft. Stockton Independent School District, TX
Ellen Mandel
A city boy from St. Louis, Charles Russell longed to be a cowboy in the Wild West. Ever drawing and sculpting images of his frontier heroes and the animals of the plains, the boy dreamed of being part of their wilderness life. In the hope of quelling their son's ambitions, Charles' parents sent him west for one month when he was a young teen. The month of his parent's intent extended to a lifetime of experiences with the Native Americans, cowboys, and land of the Old West--experiences Russell indelibly detailed in the lifelike paintings for which he became famous. Winter invitingly describes Russell's journey to the land and the occupation of his dreams in a concise text from which her distinctive folk art takes flight. In a rich palette of acrylics, Winter's illustrations convey the joy of a youth fulfilling his wildest ambitions and simultaneously preserving for posterity a record of the lost American frontier.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152008574
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/15/1995
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.31 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

JEANETTE WINTER has written and illustrated many books for children, including MAMA, The Librarian of Basra, Calavera Abecedario: A Day of the Dead Alphabet Book, My Name Is Georgia, and Josefina. She lives in New York City.

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