K-Gr 3 Set in the frontier days of the Australian outback, Bossyboots is the story of Abigail, ``the bossiest girl in all Australia,'' and her journey on the stagecoach to Narrabri. The feisty heroine orders everyone aroundthe driver, the other passengers, even the horses! When the wild outlaw Flash Fred holds up the coach, Abigail intimidates even him into handing back the stolen goods and letting the coach go safely on its way. The story is far-fetched and predictable, especially in its ending, and the verbal battle that ensues between Bossyboots and her would-be oppressor is more reminiscent of a schoolyard fight than of a confrontation between a robber and a feminist. All in all, though, the tale provides a harmless and amusing adventure with a protagonist who speaks her mind freely and gets results. The real strength of the story lies in the delightful watercolor and ink cartoon illustrations which portray moods of the characters not elucidated in the text. The sketches of the outback in its days of lawlessness will invite comparison to the American Wild West and may serve as a springboard for discussing the cultures of the U.S. and Australia. Neither a substitute for the wily Madeline (Viking) nor really a first purchase, Bossyboots is still suitable fare for those seeking picture books with strong females. Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, Wheeler School, Providence, R.I.