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Once a year, Miles City, Montana, becomes home to a celebration like no other. Collard takes readers inside the Miles City Bucking Horse Sale, a four-day event that draws visitors from across the country. Started in 1951 as a sale of wild horses, it’s evolved into a jamboree of music, rodeo, food, contests, and a parade. A concert kicks things off on Thursday. On Friday, it’s bull busting, where the brave get aboard bulls and the even braver distract the bulls once the rider is thrown. On Saturday, it’s bucking broncs and the horse auction; Sunday ends the fun with races. An extensive text looks at all these events and more, even getting into such topics as the decline of the small western town. Plenty of action-filled color photographs break up the narrative, most of them contemporary but some archival as well. Handsomely designed, with buff pages that resemble pieces of parchment and endpaper maps, this is a fascinating look at a fresh topic. A glossary and a page of books, videos, and websites for “further learnin’” round this up. Grades 5-8. --Ilene Cooper
Sneed B. Collard III has written more than fifty books for young people, and was the 2006 winner of the prestigious Washington Post-Children s Book Guild Nonfiction Award for his body of work. His well-known nonfiction titles include The Prairie Builders Reconstructing America s Lost Grasslands; Shep Our Most Loyal Dog; Pocket Babies and Other Amazing Marsupials; Wings; Teeth; and Reign of the Sea Dragons. Sneed is also the author of three popular novels, Dog Sense, Flash Point, Double Eagle. His newest mystery, The Governor s Dog is Missing will be available from Bucking Horse Books in 2011.