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Giddy Up, Cowgirl Hardcover – February 2, 2006
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
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From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2–Momma has a whole list of errands to run so she tells her daughter to Giddy up. Cowgirl, an exuberant child with lots of imagination and energy, is determined to be helpful. As the two proceed through their tasks, several problems occur. Sometimes Cowgirl is successful in solving them (she sings to compensate for the broken car radio); at other times, disaster ensues (she scatters letters to be mailed on the sidewalk). At the grocery store, Cowgirl lets go of the list, which blows away in the wind. She assures her mother, I remember EVERYTHING on that list, and then fills the basket with candy and treats. Even though Momma visibly loses patience by the end of the trip, the story finishes with hugs all around. The spare narrative is peppered with cowboy drawl. The bright cartoon illustrations really shine: they fill in the texts broad outlines by using facial expressions to add humor and warmth. Krosoczka does a good job of selecting situations that both children and adults will find funny. The lively language and colorful artwork make this tale a Yippeee Yi YEEEE! choice for reading aloud.–Susan E. Murray, Glendale Public Library, AZ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
PreS-K. Armed with a trusty sidekick (a plush armadillo), a 10-pint hat, and a mission to be helpful, little Cowgirl discovers that a day of errands with Mom can be full of opportunities to play hero. Sometimes, though, her earnest efforts leave Mom more stressed than ever--as when the fearless youngster asks a favor of a scary-looking biker dude, or drops items she has offered to carry. Cowgirl's confidence eventually flags, but Mom embraces and reassures her downcast helper: "Your momma loves you because you always try!" The story's kids-will-be-kids humor, especially the concluding joke, seems aimed at parents more than children, who may yearn to see illustrations of childhood competence rather than clumsiness. But little ones will respond to Krosoczka's stylized, textured paintings--particularly the brassy cowgirl, whose gap-toothed grin, in the tradition of David Shannon's David, is the locus of her irrepressible energy. Children will also enjoy following the rhythms of familiar activities and talking about how each stop on the duo's errand circuit compares to its counterpart in their own communities. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Neither rural or urban, this cowgirl's as suburban as a station wagon. However, her mind is on the range, full of expressions such as "YEE HAW!" "Saddle up, Ol' Jim! and the venerable "Yippeee Yi YEEEE! Yippee Yi Yo!" (Some Western dialects render that "Yi" as "Ki," but that must originate from a different suburb. "Cowgirl" accompanies When Momma invites "Cowgirl" to help her with some errands, Cowgirl is especially excited; after all, real cowgirls love helping. Unfortunately, Cowgirl's good-hearted intentions exceed her capabilities. Although she finds Momma's wallet beneath the feet of a rough looking feller in the bank, Cowgirl's help inadvertently results in letters flying about the sidewalk, dropped dirty clothes at the cleaners, and a lost grocery list ("Don't worry, Momma, I remember EVERYTHING on that list.") When a dozen eggs spill out onto the parking lot, Momma has already just about lost her patience, and Cowgirl has tears in her big round eyes.
This brings us to the dramatic climax: Momma giving her girl a great big hug, and reassuring her that "Accidents can happen, Cowgirl. Jusat remember, your momma loves you...because you always try." A[...] Any girl (or boy) will love that message. The kicker happens on the next page: Cowgirl opens the door of their SUV--just as a small hatchback drives by. "CRASH!" This last spread is somewhat jarring if taken too seriously, but provides a nice closing laugh. Krosoczka's applies thick, often textured-looking dark and light colors, with a director's combination of closeups and longer, establishing shots. In the peril fraught land of kids' picture books, this young author is definitely home on the range.
As I read to my class of 20 five year-olds I could see they clearly related to the story as well. They were engrossed in the moments the little girl experienced. They wanted to see what would happen after the grocery-shopping list blew away in the wind or when the eggs were spilled. (As a mother I especially appreciated the dialogue of love and patience that occurred after the eggs spilled.)
So, after loud declarations of "YeeHaw!" and "Tarnations!" my class and I agreed Giddy Up, Cowgirl is a "thumbs up"!
Some of the comments from my class were:
"I liked it when she shopped for the groceries! Yeah! It was funny!"
"I want to ride her horse! I liked her horse."
"She kept trying. I like it 'cause she kept trying."
"I really liked it when her mommy gave her a hug." (My personal favorite as well.)
After reading and discussing the book we all agreed that we would try our best to help each other out just as the little girl did.
It is wonderful to find a book that I can share with my daughter and read to my class knowing they would connect with the characters and context. The story teaches us to keep trying and it positively reinforced being helpful.
Keep up the good work Mr. Krosoczka (pronounced Crow-ZAH-ska)! We're looking forward to your next book.