Friday, March 30, 2012

Perfect Picture Books: Tenth Avenue Cowboy

Today, I'm over at Marilyn Almodóvar's blog Writing on the Sunny Side of the Street talking about memoir. If you have a second, please stop by Marilyn's place.

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
Historical Fiction

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.

24 comments:

  1. What a great idea! Cowboys in the city. Take something interesting and move it somewhere where it doesn't normally hang out and there you have your pb, so easy lol.

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    1. Catherine, The "So Easy" comment made me laugh, but I wrote three responses before realizing there was a Blogger problem. It wasn't me. :) That realization didn't seem to be "so easy."

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  2. Cool idea - Cowboys in New York! It's neat that it is based on an actual fact. I love Enzo's "invisibility cloak" :)

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    1. Erik, He seriously tries to hide in odd ways. I like his imagination.

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  3. Cowboys in New York City! That makes me want to read the book right away. That and I need a new invisibility cloak. :-)

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  4. Stacy: I have a cowboy book written, but not the same as this one. This book sounds so cute. I gotta have this one. I need an invisibility cloak today too. Ask Enzo if I can borrow his. :-)

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    1. Robyn, I love cowboy books. I have one too and continue to rework it despite being reminded that southwest themed books aren't doing well in the market unless you are famous. :)

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  5. Sounds interesting. I love cowboy books!

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    1. It is interesting Christie. Long live cowboy books!

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  6. I'm with everybody else, the cowboy in the city thing totally hooked me. Looking forward to checking it out!

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  7. Love the Cowboys in NYC! Love Enzo wearing the book even more -- means he's really into it! Love historical fiction, so I'm sure this would grab my interest based on your review! Great choice for boys!

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    1. Patricia, I think boys will like this one. Enzo has really been getting into his books lately.

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  8. Interesting. I love learning about unusual tidbits of history and this book sounds excellent. Oil paintings can be so beautiful, Enzo is probably trying to get a closer look at the painting details.

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    1. Heather, Unusual tidbits are fun and the illustrations are beautiful.

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  9. What's not to love about a cowboy book? And as far as historical fiction goes,I love it! Great choice Stacy.
    A2ZMommy and What’s In Between

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    1. Tracy, I can't think of a single reason not to love a cowboy book.

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  10. Sounds like a book we should have at our library here in West Texas! I will check next week!

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    1. Penny, Texas libraries should have this book, because it shows cowboys in a completely different setting.

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  11. This book sounds very interesting. I did not know that there were cowboys in NYC. I'm curious to learn about them. Great choice, Stacy!

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  12. Yee-haw! While I don't have that many cowboy books, I was reminded of a fractured fairy tale called The Three Little Javelinas, mainly for its Old West appeal. This book reminds readers who share a similar experience that even if they are far away from home, they will always find things or meet people that will make them feel like they had never left. :)

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  13. This book has captured a really interesting piece of history! I've never heard of the tenth avenue cowboys. Now I'm compelled to do a little research!

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  14. Nice! The write-up makes the book sound cool.

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