With sophisticated and detailed art and a counting/finding game on each double-page spread, this picture book for young children displays various elements of a Texas cattle ranch. Enter the corral, the bunkhouse, and the cookshack, and join the circle of hungry cowboys at the chuck wagon, to see how each place looks and to learn what goes on there. And don't forget the animals-from the bright-eyed horned toads and comical roadrunners to majestic longhorns and breathtaking quarterhorses, a final birds-eye-view ...
With sophisticated and detailed art and a counting/finding game on each double-page spread, this picture book for young children displays various elements of a Texas cattle ranch. Enter the corral, the bunkhouse, and the cookshack, and join the circle of hungry cowboys at the chuck wagon, to see how each place looks and to learn what goes on there. And don't forget the animals-from the bright-eyed horned toads and comical roadrunners to majestic longhorns and breathtaking quarterhorses, a final birds-eye-view painting shows all the elements on the ranch.
Roxie Munro takes eagle-eyed readers out West in Ranch, presenting a different area of it in full-bleed spreads, from the wide-open range with grazing cows to the shed, cookshack and office. Each page includes a paragraph of information, followed by a list of items to find in each setting. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Roxie Munro brings to the subject of ranches the same precise pen and watercolor illustrations she has used so successfully in the "Inside-Outside" books about cities such as Washington and New York. She chooses settings, such as the range, creek, pen, barn and tack room, shed, cookhouse, bunkhouse and chuck wagon, as well as events such as branding and training to show readers what goes on there and what one might find in the way of equipment and gear, animals, people doing their jobs, and so forth. In addition, she has added a kind of "I Spy" aspect to the illustrations by listing things that children can count and find or point to, for instance, in the barn and tack room page: a first-aid kit, a mare, a foal, seven saddles, rain boots, a pitchfork, a pair of chaps, and some ten other things. For young readers, it is a great way to expand vocabulary in the presence of someone who can explain what a boot tree is, or what two longhorns look like. The introductory paragraphs heading each double page spread does not cater to the young reader but instead, informs somewhat older readers in more complex prose, what one finds there: "A major aspect of ranching is bringing up horses properly. In the circular training corral, much time is spent making young horses feel comfortable and building up trust between the horses and the riders. One unfortunate visual decision was to pair two different settings, the bunkhouse and the office on opposite pages, violating readers' double-page expectations; no white space in the gutter separates the illustrations. It's a jarring exception to the generous double page spreads that invite the eye to roam in wider expanses across the two pages. That aside, theappealing book is an obvious labor of love to the Texas-born Munro whose artwork has appeared on New Yorker covers and elsewhere. An answer key shows in black outline and color-coded dots where the items are located that readers were asked to find, a satisfying conclusion to those who want to play the game. It is an informative, artistic, and highly "talkable" book that does a good job of introducing a typical American ranch to a wide range of young readers. 2004, Bright Sky Press, Ages 5 to 11.
—Susan Hepler, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Munro combines a seek-and-find component with a serviceable tour of a modern ranch. Each spread describes a physical area of the establishment (range, creek, corral and roundup, barn and tack room, etc.), provides a single paragraph on its function, and concludes with a list of objects to find in the picture (answer keys are appended). Done in pen and ink and watercolors, the realistic paintings show wide-open Western landscapes. The beiges and browns of the corral are lightened by wisps of green grass and pale blue skies. Cow folk are shown interacting with animals, and there are numerous details to explore in each scene. Ranching nomenclature is defined in the text. This book provides a simple, direct, and practical description of a rural vocation still very much alive if foreign to the majority of city kids. Follow it up with Cheryl Walsh Bellville's Round-up (Carolrhoda, 1982; o.p.) to see real cowboys at work.-John Sigwald, Unger Memorial Library, Plainview, TX Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.