For Perfect Picture Book Fridays, I've chosen Tenth Avenue Cowboy.
You've seen this book being used as a hat or invisibility cloak.
Tenth Avenue Cowboy
Written by Linda Oatman High
Illustrated by Bill Farnsworth
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2008
Suitable for: Ages 7 to 10
Theme/Topic: Moving, Cowboys, City Life
Opening: It was 1910 when Ben and his parents left their ranch in the West and took the train to New York City, where they'd heard the work the pay were the best."
Brief Synopsis: Summary from the book — In 1910, when his family moves to new York City from their ranch out West, Ben misses the cowboys and the prairies that they left behind, but after he learns there are cowboys in the city who race along the railroad tracks and warns people of approaching trains, he begins to feel more at home. (No joke that's a one sentence summary.)
Link to Resources: I did a Perfect Picture Book review on Cowboy Bunnies back in December. Some cowboy resources are great to use today including Howdy Partner from the Virtual Vine. Here's a link from the Utah Education Network on What Does a Cowboy Do? This book is a great discussion point about moving to new places. Ben leaves the open West and moves to a city, but still found a piece of the cowboy life in the heart of the city.
Why I chose this book: I love cowboy books. I found this one at the book sale at the library. It's in good shape when Enzo's not trying to wear it. The word count is above his age range, but he sits still to listen to the story and study the illustrations (oils on canvas). The photos show cowboys with lanterns riding through the streets of a city swelling with its growing population — from the U.S. like Ben and from around the world.
Linda Oatman High has a note in the back of the book as well as a small glossary. She wrote: "The Tenth Avenue Cowboys were legendary figures in Hell's Kitchen, where they rode their horses to warn of the approaching rains until the early 1930s. The Cowboys gave city youngsters the thrill of the West, and the children of Hell's Kitchen admired those who rode high and gallant on the galloping horses. Many children longed to be a cowboy themselves one day, and some of them succeeded."
Writers may find this essay written by the author inspiring: But Maybe Someday I'll Use This.
To find more picture books and resources, please visit Susanna Leonard Hill's blog and look for the Perfect Picture Books page.