From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 4-After finding 32 fleas in his hair and tumbleweeds in his chaps, a freckle-faced cowboy decides that it's time for his annual bath. He mounts his horse, calls for his old dog, and heads for El Rio. There he disrobes and commands his companion to guard his duds. After frolicking merrily with a bar of soap (the amusing illustrations show many views of the naked cowboy bathing, while still keeping a G rating), he emerges thoroughly scrubbed and puckered "like a prickly pear." The dog does not detect his owner's familiar "wild boar-like smell" and stubbornly refuses to relinquish the garments. A dust-stirring brawl ensues that leaves the man as dirty as when he started, ultimately restoring his usual aroma. Unfortunately, the togs do not survive the tussle, and the cowboy heads for home, "bare as a shorn sheep." Told in descriptive language that rolls off the tongue, this story makes the most of a humorous situation. Filled with the dusty reds and sundown bronzes of the New Mexico setting, the paintings have a gritty, sinewy look that matches the earthy tone of the tale. Clever touches abound, as the artwork offers framed close-ups of the cowboy's uninvited vermin, a map of his route to the river, and whirling views of the wrestling match. The hangdog expression on the pooch's face when he realizes his mistake is priceless. A fun look at life on the range.Joy Fleishhacker, formerly at School Library Journal
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
K-Gr. 2. A cowboy decides to take his yearly bath, so he heads to a nearby river, where he orders his scruffy dog to guard his clothes. When the cowboy returns from the river, he's so clean that the dog doesn't recognize him. The two get into an extended fracas, leaving the cowboy as filthy as ever and the clothes in tatters. Naked and dirty, the cowboy finally returns home, the dog trotting beside him. For some children, the appeal of this story is in the clever composition of the pictures that manages to conceal the cowboy's private bits. Rex's rich paintings add sparkle to the story's dramatic telling with the attention to detail and humor that may remind some grownups of Norman Rockwell's early work. A simple, slapstick tale that is sure to elicit some giggles. Todd MorningCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved