Friday, October 3, 2008

A Review of Wilbur and the Moose, and an Accidental Review of Bubba the Cowboy Prince - Or - Get Ready for All Kinds of Cowboy Awesomeness!

Review by Scott Tingley

I teach third grade. I have a new batch of students this year and I have to decide something. When will I treat them to the greatest story reading of all time?

I think most teachers have something they secretly think they are amazing at. Maybe one thinks that no one teaches sentence structure like them, or that they teach Trigonometric Functions like a rock star. I’ve got a couple of things I do pretty well (keeping my desk clean is one of them….lying on the internet, apparently, is another), and reading Bubba the Cowboy Prince is another. I put on my black cowboy hat, my dark green bandana and my silver bolo tie; then I pull out the awful cowboy accent (including a truly horrendous John Wayne impression I use for the Fairy God Cow) – it’s awesome.

But, this is not a review for Bubba the Cowboy Prince…well I guess it sort of is, isn’t it? Bubba the Cowboy Prince, by Helen Ketteman and James Warhola is an amazing book to read out loud, with crazy cowboy slang and plenty of silly details in the art to keep the kids giggling every time you or they read it.

The dilemma I am facing is that I have all the gear: hat, tie, bandana, Roy Rogers six-shooters even…but only one cowboy themed book to read. I’ve tried. There have been some very valiant efforts by some very big names in the children’s book universe, but none have met my exacting standards…basically, if a John Wayne or Walter Brennan impression doesn’t fit in while reading it, then no go.

The question is, will the newest printing of the 1989 book, The Ballad of Wilbur and the Moose by John Stadler make it or not?

Well, does the song Big Bad John mean anything to you? If not, listen here and come back. You’re reading this on a screen, It’s not going anywhere.

Okay, so basically if you add a chorus of “Big Blue Moose” to every page you have a cowboy kid’s book at least on par with Bubba. I think the reading calls for something a little subtler than John Wayne; more Tennessee Ernie Ford – just channel your inner cowboy-poet and you will be fine.

The Ballad of Wilbur and the Moose is a cowboy story-song about Wilbur Little and his Big Blue Moose. They have cowboy adventures involving boxing matches, trains, deserts, a bad guy with one of those little mustaches perfect for twirling, a crooked card game and a gang of pig-rustlers. Oh, and lots of lime juice.

Final words? I can’t wait to read this to my students in a week or so….now if I can only train them to do the chorus…”Big Moose, Big Moose, BIG BLUE MOOSE…Big Moose.”

It will be like Rio Bravo meets The Good The Bad and The Ugly meets, I don’t know, Yo! Gabba Gabba – and that adds up to all kinds of cowboy awesomeness.

· $14.99 us
· ISBN: 978-0-375-84174-3 (0-375-84174-1)

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1 comment:

Crab Orchard Comics said...

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