From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 3–A delightful, infectiously cheerful, Southwestern rendition of a familiar story. Phrases used to describe biscuits, such as plump as pillows, soft as clouds, and tasty as a big Texas barbecue, just roll off the tongue. Bow-legged and dressed in a vest, boots, hat, and a big belt buckle, the Gingerbread Cowboy teases: Giddyup, giddyup as fast as you can. You can't catch me, I'm the Gingerbread Man and includes an added refrain, and raced away as fast as his boots could carry him. The lively text demands to be read aloud. The illustrations are bold: while the rancher and his wife look a bit flat, and the expressions of the cattle are cookie-cutter perfect, the Cowboy contorts his body expressively, and the coyote is infinitely sly. The orangey-brown land and sparse green cacti convey a sense of desolation, but the colorful crowd of animals and cowboys stands out dramatically against the parched landscape. Berry plays with point of view as the various figures trade levels of prominence. The rancher's wife bakes, almost lassoes the clever coyote, and later instructs the creature on how to make his own Gingerbread Cowboy. A fresh version of an old favorite.–Kirsten Cutler, Sonoma County Library, CA
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PreS-K. In her first picture book, Squires gives the popular folktale a Wild West setting, where the rancher's wife, tired of baking her husband biscuits, makes a gingerbread cowboy complete with a vest and big hat. When the gingerbread boy leaps out of the oven and wriggles through the corral fence, he is chased by javelinas (boars), by long-horned cattle ("No more grass for us! We want gingerbread"), and by cowboys riding the range--until he meets a tricky coyote napping in the sun. Berry's double-page spreads, painted in lots of brown and green, make the chase a series of uproarious encounters across the wide desert. One of the best scenes is the close-up of the coyote drawn with lots of furry cross-hatching, stretched out on the sand, one sly eye open. Preschoolers will join in the chant ("Giddyup, giddyup as fast as you can. You can't catch me . . .") as they enjoy this universal trickster tale with a cowboy slant. Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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