The Hop-To-It-Express is the fastest delivery service in the west, with riders like Fast the alligator, and his faithful steed Snappy the frog delivering letters in record time. When the president asks the Hop-To-It Express to deliver an urgent letter announcing that Cactus Gulch is officially welcomed into the U.S.A., Fast and Snappy have their work cut out for them. Although they would usually pass the letter off at the next station to another rider, Gila Joe and his band of rattle snakes are out and causing problems at every turn, and Fast and Snappy end up riding the whole way themselvesbattling Gila Joe the whole way. Told in a rip-riding cowboy style, this book is a perfect introduction for young cow-pokes to the Pony Express. The book ends with a fast-n-snappy history of the Pony Express, which is much easier to swallow than the typical dry history lesson, in great part due to the story it follows. The text is accompanied on each page by colorful paintings. 2004, Carolrhoda Books, Ages 5 to 8.
K-Gr 3-Fast (an alligator) is a dedicated "Hop-to-It Express" rider and Snappy (a frog) is his faithful steed. President Blinkin gives them an important letter to deliver to the good citizens of Cactus Gulch, and they are soon on their way. Gila Joe and his band of desperado snakes try several stereotypical old-western-movie ploys to stop them. Luckily, the cavalry arrives just in time to save the day. The story and the bright acrylic cartoons are equally lighthearted and formulaic. The animal characters and desert backdrops are colorful and humorous. Schnetzler finishes off with a brief yet interesting history of the Pony Express. This silly spoof makes an entertaining teaser to open the door to the topic. For a more complete treatment of the subject for younger children, see Cheryl Harness's They're Off! The Story of the Pony Express (S & S, 1996).-Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.