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Every Cowgirl Needs a Horse (Every Cowgirl Series)

Every Cowgirl Needs a Horse (Every Cowgirl Series)

4.0 18
by Rebecca Janni, Lynne Avril (Illustrator)

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In Every Cowgirl Needs a Horse, Nellie Sue does everything with a western flair. Whether it is cleaning up the animal sty (picking up her stuffed animals) or rounding up cattle (getting the neighborhood kids together for her birthday party), she does it like a true cowgirl. All she really needs is a horse. So when Dad announces at her birthday party,


In Every Cowgirl Needs a Horse, Nellie Sue does everything with a western flair. Whether it is cleaning up the animal sty (picking up her stuffed animals) or rounding up cattle (getting the neighborhood kids together for her birthday party), she does it like a true cowgirl. All she really needs is a horse. So when Dad announces at her birthday party, “I got a horse right here for you,” Nellie Sue is excited. But when her horse turns out to be her first bicycle, it will take an imagination as big as Texas to help save the day.

Activities for Every Cowgirl Needs a Horse by Rebecca Janni

Editorial Reviews

This entertaining picture book features a spunky protagonist, whose folksy narrative delivers a supportive message about the rewards of imaginative play.
Children's Literature - Sarah Maury Swan
Nellie Sue wants a horse and has it all planned out as to where she will keep her—in the garage—and what she will feed her—grass from the lawn—and where she will hitch her—by the mailbox—and where she will corral her—the front yard. On her birthday, Nellie Sue does all her barnyard chores in confident anticipation of getting her horse. She waters her dog, mucks out her hamster and rabbit cages, feeds the chickadees, and gathers grass for the horse she is certain to receive. Every time her mother or father asks if she needs anything, she points out that she needs a horse. She rounds up all her friends to come to her birthday party and then is faced with a big disappointment. Instead of a horse, she gets a shiny pink bike. Still, like all cowgirls, Nellie Sue makes the best of the presents. She pretends her bike is a horse and canters it down the road. Nellie Sue's charming story is written by an understanding horse lover. Reviewer: Sarah Maury Swan
Publishers Weekly
It's her birthday and Nellie Sue is hoping for a horse. Her parents have gotten enough hints: she wears cowgirl duds from head to toe, uses words like “moseyed,” drops her g's (as in “Yee-haw! We've got herdin' to do!”), and has elaborate plans for converting the family home into a barn and paddock. Instead, Nellie Sue gets a bicycle: “All eyes were on me, and I felt like I swallowed a hay bale.” Debut author Janni and Avril (Amelia Bedelia's First Day of School) clearly appreciate their heroine's fantasies, but don't always succeed in getting inside her head. Avril's pink-hued watercolor cartoons have a birthday-card geniality, giving little sense of either an internal drama or a romantic vision of life on the range. The extent to which Nellie Sue takes the bike-as-horse fantasy makes for some overly precious lines (“I walked over to her with my palm out flat so she could get a good sniff,” she says, approaching the bike), but readers should identify with her longing, as well as her powerful sense of imagination. Ages 3–5. (Feb.)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Cowgirl wannabe Nellie Sue is convinced she'll get a horse for her birthday. In her imagination, she already is feeding, watering, lassoing, and riding her dream steed as she does routine chores on the big day. When her parents proudly present her with her new horse—a bike—she is taken aback but then gamely approaches "Beauty" and saddles up. As she and her bike survive a crash and repair, Nellie Sue finds her imagination is strong enough for her to see her bike as a horse and she happily pedals into the sunset. The child's fresh voice and twang will have children cheering as she starts out making the best of a situation and then finds she is perfectly happy with the outcome. The bright, sketchy, watercolor and ink illustrations are suffused with pinks and purples and capture a child who tries to live up to cowgirl ideals of helping others, looking on the bright side, and being strong. The lesson on dealing positively with disappointment is gently delivered. Perfect for one-on-one sharing or reading alone, this is a cowgirl story that readers will take to heart.—Marge Loch-Wouters, La Crosse Public Library, WI
Kirkus Reviews
City-dwellin', country-talkin' Nellie Sue, "a cowgirl from head to toe," wants a horse more than anything and fully expects to receive one on her birthday. As she tackles her chores-harvesting hay (grass clippings) and lassoing neighborhood kids for her party-horses reign supreme in her thought bubbles. She can't believe that by the time chili and beans are served she still hasn't got one. Finally, the big moment arrives. Her dad gives her a brand-new . . . bike. At first she feels like she "swallowed a hay bale," but she soon gamely accepts that wheels might do the trick in the indisputable absence of hooves. Avril's wonderfully freewheelin', loose-lined, cartoonish illustrations help tell the entertaining-but-not-extraordinary story. The opening spread hints that a trip to Frontier Town may have fueled her horsey fire, and, as she rides her bike into the sunset, the sky fades into saguaros and cowboy hats. The glittery stars and hearts on the cover may lure readers into Nellie Sue's pink cowgirl world, but it's her hopeful, unbroken spirit that'll win 'em over. (Picture book. 4-6)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Every Cowgirl Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.70(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.40(d)
AD650L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 - 5 Years

Meet the Author

Rebecca Janni is a freelance writer. This is her first book for children. She lives in Iowa.

Lynne Avril is an illustrator and bass player. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

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Every Cowgirl Needs a Horse 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
blakeandlily More than 1 year ago
cute and charming story about a girl who wants a horse for her birthday and gets something else instead! Makes a great gift too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a clever, delightful story! My granddaughters have picked it every night since I gave it to them for me or their parents to read to them!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The colorful cover on "Every Cowgirl Needs a Horse" piqued my interest since I had my own horse when I was young. What an imagination Nellie Sue has in her detailed planning to accomodate her coveted horse. I loved the crossed out misspelled words which indicated her excitement and anticipation. In Nellie Sue's imagination, she took on the character of a real cowgirl. Her every thought was "Every Cowgirl Needs a Horse." The colorful illustrations are captivating, making the story come alive; making the characters real. Nellie Sue's desire to share her birthday horse with friends indicates her joy in sharing with others. This delightful book is not only fun reading but it has lessons that the young readers can absorb. Nellie Sue was diligent in her planning for her horse. She was perserving in that she followed her dream. She applied herself to her work. Nellie Sue was not inclusive in her friendship but shared with all her friends. Nellie Sue was able to deal with situations and dream on. Great Book! Nellie Sue will be remembered.
RadcliffeNJ More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best children's books I've ever seen. First and foremost, the illustrations are beautiful! The colors are lovely and the images are soft and wonderful to look at but yet pleasantly detailed. It was the illustrations that drew me to the book on the shelf and I've always felt that they are such an important part of a good children's book. They also really help to tell the story in a way not found in most children's books. But the story is equally genius! : ) The main character, Nellie Sue, is a Cowgirl "through and through." In fact, the only thing she is missing is a horse - so she asks for one for her birthday. Well, she doesn't get a horse, she gets a bike, but the way it is handled is so sweet and clever! I thought it was great that the author chose to go that route because it's much more realistic - how many little girls are really going to get a horse? This makes the story so much more relatable. It's just a warm and funny read from beginning to end. This is a great book for girls who aren't into the "girlie" stuff like princesses and ballerinas, or any little girl (or boy) who loves horses. This is also good for adult collectors. My sister was a horse lover when we were little and I got this book for her as a fun, nostalgic Christmas gift.
Rachel Rogers More than 1 year ago
My daughter LOVES this book! Really cute story and cleverly written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of my 3-yr old's favorites. It is pure imagination, similar to "Pinkalicious" and "Goldilicious". I didn't know if she would like it since she doesn't have much interest in cowboys or cowgirls and the main character in this book is obsessed with being a cowgirl. But my daughter took to it the first time we read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author came to my daughter's school so we purchased the book so she could sign it. My daughter loved the book and played cowgirl after reading it. It is a cute book filled with imagination. We will be getting more by this author.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is a good book
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Word-Crafter More than 1 year ago
Nellie Sue knows exactly what she wants for her birthday. She's even planning to turn the garage into a stable. But her high hopes are dashed. The story of how she deals with her disappointment is charming. The language is witty; for example, the cowgirl narrator "rounds up" the neighbor kids for her party. The expressive illustrations capture both Nellie Sue's imagination and reality. While the message isn't heavy-handed, Nellie Sue and her father set a good example of how to deal with the gap between what you hope for and what you get. This book would make a great readaloud. Activities, such as a maze and word search, are available at http://rebeccajanni.com/fun-stuff.html This is the author's first book; I hope more of Nellie Sue's adventures are coming.
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Allison Snead More than 1 year ago
i really dont know i have not read this book