Shepard pulls out all the B-western cliches for this tale of a do-goodin' stranger wearing a yella hat and two unusual six-shooters. When the outlaws of a dusty town called Brimstone get a load of Larry, they know he's one pesky varmint. For one thing, he smiles too much, and not only that, he prefers lemonade over more bracing beverages. One by one, Crooked Curt, Stinky Steve, and the most ferocious critter of all, Evil-Eye McNeevil, wind up in showdowns with Larry; they consider him especially dangerous because his guns don't shoot bullets, just magic bolts of gold light that turn bad guys into neighborly folks. Goffe's animated illustrations feature conventional Wild West scenes, with movie-set storefronts and scruffy townsfolk. (Unfortunately, though there are a few buffalo gals, no Calamity Janes are in sight.) While it's safe to assume that children will have played cowboys before reading this book, parents should be forewarned of the amount of gunplay here. Weapons used in the name of peace send a mixed message, even in such an agreeable work. Ages 6-8.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"One of the books every boy should have on his bookshelf; girls will probably like the story too . . . The language is perfect, [with] the right dose of silliness to make both parents and children chuckle . . . The illustrations are ideal." -- Cindi Rose, Examiner.com, Aug. 20, 2012
"A tall-tale superhero for our time. . . . A readaloud that could lighten up classes well up in the elementary grades." -- Kirkus Reviews, Mar. 1, 1993
"Pass out the bandanas and dig out the spittoon. Read this story in an old-timer's voice, and everyone will have a good time." -- Chris Sherman, American Library Association Booklist, Mar. 1, 1993
"Move over Wyatt Earp. Make room for a cowboy of a different caliber. A wide age range of listeners will request this one again and again." -- School Library Journal, Nov. 1993
"A rib-tickler. . . . Kids will enjoy acting this out as readers theatre." -- Jan Lieberman, TNT, Spring 1993
"Lovely. . . . Should reach the tickly bone of youngsters." -- Storyline, June 1993
"Perfect for telling or reading out loud." -- Katy Rydell, Stories, Spring 1993
"My class loved this story. Great to use when introducing tall tales." -- D. Peccianti, Reviews of All Resources (Monterey Peninsula United School District)
"Introduces one amazing cowpoke. . . . Will have young listeners laughing out loud and asking you to 'read it again.'" -- Smithsonian, Nov. 1993
"The book is entertaining and provides grist for discussions." -- Sparks: Mid-South Children's Book Review Journal, Spring 1994
"Told in the spirited language of a true yarn-spinner, this is a rollicking picture book to warm the heart of just about everyone." -- Kids' Line, Summer 1993
"The old west is turned on its ear in this lighthearted tall tale. . . . Shepard's frontier vernacular manages to be both faithful to the genre and hilariously funny; the book reads aloud wonderfully. . . . Especially good for classroom use." -- Wendy E. Betts, The Web Online Review, Apr. 22, 1994
"Rollicking. . . . Will surely find a place in your storytelling heart." -- The Story Bag, Special Review Issue
I'll never forget the day Larry rode into our little town of Brimstone and walked into the Cottonmouth Saloon. He strode up to the bar and smiled straight at the bartender.
"Lemonade, please," he said.
Every head in the place turned to look.
Now, standing next to Larry at the bar was Crooked Curt. Curt was one of a band of rustlers and thieves that had been terrorizing our town, led by a ferocious outlaw named Evil-Eye McNeevil.
Curt was wearing the usual outlaw scowl. Larry turned to him and smiled. "Mighty big frown you got there, mister," he said.
"What's it to you?" growled Curt.
"Well," said Larry, "maybe I could help remove it."
"I'd like to see you try!" said Curt.
The rest of us got out of the way, real fast. The bartender ducked behind the bar. Larry and Curt moved about ten paces from each other, hands at the ready. Larry was still smiling.
Curt moved first. But he only just cleared his gun from its holster before Larry aimed and fired.
There was no bang and no bullet. Just a little bolt of light that hit Curt right in the heart.
Curt just stood there, his eyes wide with surprise. Then he dropped his gun, and a huge grin spread over his face. He rushed up to Larry and pumped his hand.
"I'm mighty glad to know you, stranger!" he shouted. "The drinks are on me! Lemonade for everyone!"