K-Gr 2-"Honey draws more flies than vinegar" is certainly an adage that is used frequently with children when encouraging appropriate behavior, but that message is relayed in a dull, predictable, and uninspiring manner in this fourth book in the series. When not practicing her trick riding skills, Cowgirl Gabby and her sidekick, Slim Jim Watkins, ride around the old West reprimanding cowboys for the way they treat their mules, horses, or new cowhands. She tells them that all they have to do is a little "sweet talking" and wonders can be achieved. She whispers sweet nothings into an ear and, lo and behold, a stubborn mule moves right along, and a greenhorn can do fancy rope tricks. Slim Jim, himself, even turns into a sweet talker with Gabby. Some cowboy-related figures of speech dot the text ("-in those parts women were scarcer than whiskers on a rattler"), but the story itself is heavy-handed. Muddy colors dominate the artwork done in oil pastels, watercolors, and pen and ink. The characters are depicted with exaggerated facial features, bug-eyed and opened mouthed, and disproportionate bodies, giving them a goofy appearance.-Patti Gonzales, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.