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Children's Books About Our American West

Pacaritambo: The Machu Picchu Magazine & Children's Bookstore

American West History for Children & Young Adults

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BULL'S-EYE; A Photobiography of Annie Oakley
by Sue Macy. Wonderful B&W and sepia-tone era photos illustrate. "Color" maps. Condition: NEW 2001 National Geographic hard cover & DJ (in mylar jacket), no printing given. Content: When a person becomes a legend, it can be difficult to sort out the truth, especially in the case of Annie Oakley, whose life was relentlessly fictionalized. Macy does a good job of sifting out the facts and retelling them in an enjoyable fashion. Born in rural Ohio, eight-year-old Phoebe Ann Moses took the family shotgun to find supper one day and was seemingly never seen again without a gun in her hands. She was soon shooting game to sell to restaurants, a practice that led her to a marksmanship contest with sharpshooter Frank Butler, who eventually became her husband, costar, and manager. At the end of her 20-year career, Oakley had toured with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, performed on Broadway, and garnered acclaim from both sides of the Atlantic. Macy's readable, attractive biography, which conveys both Oakley's homespun simplicity and her business savvy, is illustrated with beautiful sepia-tone photographs and drawings--a combination that will satisfy students and browsers alike. A chronology and a bibliography are appended. Grades 5-8. [1 copy available]
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Price: $ 6.49
Bulls-Eye, Annie Oakley

by Russell Freedman. B&W era artwork and drawings illustrate. Condition: NEW 1992 Scholastic soft cover edition, 10th printing. Tiny, tiny edge wear. Content: By supplying food and raw materials closely linked with survival, the buffalo (American bison) was the most essential animal to the Indians of the Great Plains of North America. The migration of the buffalo ruled the rhythm of the Indians' daily lives, and the spirit of this sacred beast was incorporated into sacred rituals and tribal lore. A successful hunter became a man of influence and importance. Freedman has written a gripping account of the sacred relationship between the Indians and the buffalo, whose slaughter by whites assured the destruction of the Indian way of life. Illustrated throughout with reproductions of paintings and drawings by 19th century artist-adventurers, this book tells a poignant tale about a once-indomitable animal and the independent people who were its hunters. Grades 7 and up. [2 copies available]
$ 2.98 + $ 3.19 media shipping.

Price: $ 2.98
Buffalo Hunt, Russell Freedman

by Russell Freedman. B&W era photos illustrate. Condition: NEW 1983 Clarion soft cover (c. 1993), 19th printing. Perfect. Content: With a focus on children's experience of the American frontier history from the 1840s to the early 1900s, Russell Freedman tells about the hardships of early pioneers on their way west as well as their everyday life after they had settled down in Oregon, California, or other western states. One chapter of the book is dedicated to the native inhabitants of the western territory -- the American Indians. Two other interesting chapters tell about frontier schools and how games, parties, and celebrations made the hard daily life more bearable for children and adults alike. Dozens of excellent, large-sized photos illustrate the author's excellent description of pioneer life. Freedman's first chapter even gives an overview of the work of frontier photographers. While the well-researched book is aiming at younger readers, I still recommend "Children Of The Wild West" for every reader interested in basic facts of the American frontier history. Freedman's style of writing is entertaining as well as educating. Grades 7 and up. [1 copy available]
$ 5.00 + $ 3.19 media shipping.

Price: $ 5.00
Children of Wild West

by Richard Ammon. Color illustrations and wrap-around cover art by Bill Farnsworth. Condition: UNREAD 2000 Holiday House hardcover & DJ (in mylar jacket), first edition, first printing. Gift inscription on loose endpage and the DJ has been price-clipped. However, a nice insert from the Historical Society about the wagons. Content: The history of the "wagon that won the West" - so to speak - from invention to the American Revolution to the treks Westward. Not your everyday history subject for kids, but a fascinating one - and a nice change. Questions welcome. [1 copy available]
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Price: $ 4.59
Conestoga Wagons

by Russell Freedman. B&W era photos illustrate. Condition: NEW 1985 Clarion soft cover edition, 23rd printing (c. 2000). Content: Freedman's careful research and inviting texts have made his nonfiction can't-miss titles in homes and libraries. Here is a sequel to Children of the Wild and the author's other award winners. He has selected over 50 photos from the Library of Congress and state archives to illustrate his chronicles of life on the range. Cowboys, readers discover, were really boys. Many were teenagers, a few "old hands" were in their early 20s; and they were responsible for driving great herds across the plains in the 1800s. Freedman describes the buckaroos' clothes and equipment, how they passed the days on the ranch and on the trail, during the big roundups, etc. There were black and Indian cowboys as well as whites, all working hard together. Although these storied riders of the purple sage are different from the gun-totin', steely-eyed movie types, they are as exciting and interesting to meet and learn about here. One feels wistful when the book ends with a lament from a man who remembers: "I would know an old cowboy in hell with his hide burnt off." He says the fellows punching cows today couldn't match their predecessors, independent and proud, who sang as they earned a tough dollar, "I've roamed the Texas prairies,/ I've followed the cattle trail;/ I've rid a pitchin' pony/ Till the hair come off his tail." Questions welcome. [1 copy available]
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Cowboys of the Wild West, Freedman

by Ubete Tomb. B&W illustrations for coloring by Nancy Conkle. Condition: UNREAD 1996 Bellerophon Books soft cover, no printing given. Content: Includes stories ranging from those of the earliest working cow women to those of Buffalo Bill's troop to movie queens and rodeo stars to Wild Horse Annie, who worked to save the wild mustangs. Entertaining biographies and line drawings of the cowgirls and their horses to color are included. Fun and educational. [1 copy available]
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Price: $ 4.00
Cowgirls, Coloring Book

by Paul Erickson. Color photos of artifacts, color drawings, color maps, and a few B&W era photos illustrate. Condition: NEW c. 2001 Puffin large soft cover, 7th printing. Tiny shelf wear bottom front cover corner. Content: In 1853, the Larkin family loaded their covered wagon and headed west on the Oregon trail in search of a new life. How did they do it? What did they eat? How did they dress? How did they survive sickness or attacks from cattle thieves? Drawing on diaries and letters, and illustrated with photos of actual objects from the past, Daily Life in a Covered Wagon explores what life was really like on the wagon train. Ages 9 - 12. [1 copy available]
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Price: $ 5.00
Cowgirl Megan

by Byrd Baylor. Southwestern-style color illustrations by Peter Parnall. Condition: UNREAD c. 1993 McMillan soft cover (stapled wraps), second printing. Very pale tanning to edges of white cover. Content: You may think of the desert as a harsh, dry place where no one would ever want to live -- but think again. The Desert People know. so do the animals. Both love the land, and "share the feeling of being brothers in the desert, of being desert creatures together." Byrd Baylor's spare, poetic text and Peter Parnall's striking illustrations lime the sky, stone and sand of the desert in this haunting book. [2 copies available]
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Price: $ 3.50
Desert is Theirs, Byrd Baylor

FRIDA MARIA: A Story of the Old Southwest
by Deborah Nourse Lattimore. Wonderful, historically accurate color illustrations by the Author. Condition: NEW 2000 Harcourt Brace soft cover (stapled wraps), 11th printing. Content: Story set in Old California. Frida Maria's mama wants her to behave like a proper se?orita-by learning to sew, cook, and dance. But all Frida can think about is the upcoming Fiesta and riding her uncle's horse Diablo in the great race. She tries to please her mama, but in several humorous episodes, ends up only exasperating her. When the Fiesta finally arrives, Frida impetuously joins the competition; predictably, she not only wins the race, but also the admiration of everyone. In a touching finale, the woman comes to appreciate her daughter's unconventional talents. The humorous and lively text, full of dialogue and sprinkled with Spanish words, reads smoothly. A glossary with pronunciations is included. Lattimore's vivid, textured illustrations, rendered in watercolor and colored pencil in deep, rich, earth and jewel tones over a hand-applied layer of modeling paste, have a frescolike quality. The variation in layout, from full-page paintings, to smaller framed scenes, to a two-page double foldout, adds visual interest. The artist successfully blends elements from early California Mission architecture with lush garden scenes and domestic interiors with flower-filled baskets, pottery, and kitchen implements to give a real sense of time and place. It is refreshing to see such a strong and independent girl in this satisfying picture book. Grades 2 - 4. [2 copies available]
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Frida Maria: Old Southwest

by Jean Van Leeuwen. Beautiful soft color paintings by Thomas B. Allen. Wonderful paper. Condition: NEW 1999 Puffin soft cover, third printing. Content: "One day in early spring we packed everything we had into our wagon, tied our milk cow Sadie on behind, and set out to find a new home. Going West." Narrated by seven-year-old Hannah, so begins this haunting evocation of times past. Although Van Leeuwen sets forth a representative pioneer tale, her story of one indomitable family is rich with particulars--the hailstorm that ruins the first vegetable crop, the wildflowers that bloom "in mounds of pink and lavender and blue, like soft pillows," the neighbor who brings to Hannah's cabin his flute and eventually his new wife. Into a gentle text brimming with family warmth and love, Van Leeuwen ( Dear Mom, You're Ruining My Life ; the Oliver and Amanda Pig series) packs a wealth of emotional moments--as when Mama lies down in the tall prairie grass and sighs, "Oh my, this is a lonesome land." Allen's ( In Coal Country ) scumbled, subdued pastel drawings, on sepia stock, masterfully conjure up the expanse of land and feelings. Like pages torn from a frontier journal, stirring sketches and lyrical text form a moving tribute to the brave families to whom the book is dedicated. Ages 5-9. [1 copy available]
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Going West, Children's Hist Fiction

I HAVE HEARD OF A LAND (Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book) [Inscribed by Author]
by Joyce Carol Thomas. Beautiful soft award-winning color illustrations by Floyd Coooper. Condition: PLEASE READ. INSCRIBED BY AUTHOR. UNREAD 1997 HarperCollins hardcover (pictorial boards) & DJ (in mylar jacket), third printing. DJ shows light edge wear and has the seal of the Coretta Scott King Award. Inscribed on top of title page. Content: Inspired by her own family's history, Thomas's stirring picture book explores the little-known experiences of African American pioneers who settled in Oklahoma during the late 1800s. This moving, poetic account of a brave black woman who stakes a claim "where the cottonwood trees are innocent/ Where the coyote's call is a lullaby at night/ And the land runs on forever" offers a new perspective on an era otherwise well-documented in picture books and school texts. In almost palpable imagery, Thomas describes the natural beauty of a bold new frontier as well as the hopeful, strong and passionate people who created new lives there and realized their dreams. In his third collaboration with Thomas, Cooper (Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea, Gingerbread Days), an Oklahoma native, completes the mood with his signature grainy, dreamy oil-wash portraits. His landscapes, dotted with trees, crops and cabins, glow in soft pink, yellow and brown hues. Scenes of a girl soaring on a homemade swing, neighbors worshipping in the open air and building a log house are particularly uplifting. The book stands alone as a pleasant slice of historical fiction, but will also hold much appeal for teachers and students. Thomas's author's note about the book's origins adds a special resonance to the proceedings. Ages 7-11. [1 copy available]
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I Have Heard of A Land, JOyce CArol Thomas
I Have Heard of A Land, JOyce CArol Thomas

THE LEGEND OF JIMMY SPOON (Great Episodes series) (Movie Wind River)
by Kristiana Gregory. Greg Shed cover art. B&W photo of Chief Washakie. Condition: NEW 1993 Scholatic soft cover, second printing. Content: This story is based on the life of Elijah Nicholas ("Nick") Wilson, for whom Wilson, Wyoming, is named. Twelve-year-old Jimmy Spoon years for the life of adventure he is certain a horse would bring. So when two Shoshoni boys offer him a horse on condition he ride with them to their camp, Jimmy sneaks away from his family in Salt Lake City to follow the boys. But the journey is harder and much loner than he imagined, and when Jimmy arrives at the Shoshoni camp he discovers that he is expected to stay - as the son of the chief's mother. Inspired by the memoirs of a white man (Nick Wilson) who actually lived with Chief Washakie's tribe as a boy in the mid-1800s, this book is a compelling tale of adventure and coming of age. Jimmy (AKA Nick) later became a Pony Express Rider. The 1998 movie based on Nick's life is Wind River and was directed by Tom Shell and starred Blake Heron as Nick, A Martinez, Russell Means (fascinating man), Wes Studi, Karen Allen, and Peter Yellow John. My daughter loves this movie - and she's 50! Questions welcome. [1 copy available]
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Price: $ 3.00
Legend of Jimmy Spoon, Nick Wilson story

LEWIS & PAPA: Adventure on the Santa Fe Trail
by Barbara Joosse. Wonderful soft color illustrations capturing the colors of the West - by Jon Van Zyle. Condition: Gently pre-read 1999 Chronicle hardcover (pictorial boards) & DJ (in mylar jacket0, first printing. No problems - just pre-read. Content: In this moving picture book, a father and son journey across the Santa Fe Trail to make their fortune. Their wagon is filled with goods that they will sell when they reach their destination. Their adventures are recounted in a straightforward narrative and the simple prose underscores the drama of the situations they confront. Together they battle physical and emotional hardships and in the process discover one another's strengths and vulnerabilities. The book ends, "And so it was that Papa taught Lewis to be a man...and Lewis taught Papa. And that was the real fortune." The evocative oil paintings, which cover two-thirds of each double-page spread, reflect a sense of history as well as the richness of the story. The text is printed on brown-tinted backgrounds that resemble aged paper. In addition to the endpaper maps that show the Santa Fe Trail in its entirety, occasional spot maps pinpoint locations and mark the pair's progress throughout the narrative. Historical notes and a glossary are appended. The exciting story, strong father/son bond, positive portrayals of males as resilient and sensitive, and striking illustrations come together to create a memorable work. [1 copy available]
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Price: $ 3.19
Lewis & Papa, Children's Western History

MUSTANG CANYON (Historical Fiction - of sorts)
by Jonathan London. Color illustrations by Daniel San Souci. Condition: Very Good 2002 Candlewick Press hardcover (pictorial boards) & DJ (in mylar jacket), first edition, first printing. Intended for (and marked by) a school library, but never checked out. It has, however, been gently pre-read. Content: The story of a very young pinto colt and his mother, father, and their band as they elude capture and remain free in the desert canyons of the Southwest. Lovely story and wonderful watercolor illustrations.
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Mustang Canyon

text and color watercolor illustrations by Henri Sorensen. Condition: NEW 1996 Lothrop, Lee hardcover (pictorial boards) & DJ (in mylar jacket), first printing. Content: It's the archetypal immigration story: a small boy asks his grandfather how his great-great-great-grandfather Lars came with his family from Denmark more than 100 years ago "to start a new life in America." Powerful double-page-spread paintings show how Lars and his family land in New York, take a train to Minnesota, and set off in a wagon to find a home. The Indians are gone; there's just a mention of Sitting Bull in the tales around the campfire on the wagon trail. When the wagon axle breaks near the banks of a river, Lars decides to stop there. Soon others join him, work and community grow, the railroad comes, and now there's a thriving town. In the style of Ted Lewin, the realistic portraits of the pioneer family are set against light-filled views of the wide plains and then scenes of the crowded streets. Many kids will want to go from here to their own family stories of coming to America. Questions welcome. (1 copy available)
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Price: $ 3.49
New Hope, Westward Movement, Young Adult Fiction

THE NEW LAND: A First Year on the Prairie
by Marilynn Reynolds. Excellent color illustrations by Stephen McCallum. Condition: NEW 2001 Orca soft cover, first printing. Content: While this is a Canadian book, it could easily have been written about the American West. Set in the early 20th century, tells the story of an immigrant family (of unspecified origin) during their first year of homesteading on the frontier. Mother and Father, John, and little Annie travel by oxcart to the prairie. There, a well must be dug, and a sod house and barn constructed before the snows of winter keep everyone indoors. Spring brings the time for ploughing and planting, and the small family rejoices in the prairie flowers and the flight of geese and meadowlarks. Softly colored, full-page pictures apparently created with colored pencils and chalks show scenes of the family's journey by sea, rail, and covered wagon; their farm in the midst of wide fields of grass; and the first fruits of their labor. Simple and descriptive, this quiet story with its gentle pictures can be read aloud or used as supplementary material when discussing the settling of the West. Questions welcome. (1 copy available)
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Price: $ 2.49
New Land, Westward Movement, Young Adult Fiction

PAINTING THE WILD FRONTIER: The Art and Adventures of George Catlin
by Susanna Reich. B&W photos & era paintings illustrate. Condition: This is an Uncorrected Proof - a Review Copy. Everything is here but the full-color paintings. 2008 Clarion soft cover. As of this date, there is no softcover edition of this book. Content: Using primary sources, including Catlin's own diaries and letters, Reich helps readers understand the importance of the artist's work and to see him as a man in his own time. The personal documents expose both selfless and selfish sides of his character. At times, he was sensitive to the Native peoples and their cultures, but he also used them for his own gain. Readers also see the artist as a neglectful family man and less-than-successful businessman; however, above all, Catlin is seen as an adventurer. Many of his paintings illustrate the text and add to a sense of excitement. Other period works are also included. All are well captioned with additional identification and information that ties in to the text. Quotations are carefully documented in chapter footnotes. The author's note explains her choice of terminology and spelling as well as her efforts to avoid cultural bias in writing this book. [1 copy available.]
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Painting the Wild Frontier, George Catlin

retold and illustrated by Steven Kellogg. Color illustrations. Condition: UNREAD 1987 Mulberry soft cover, first printing. tiny edge wear. Content: The anecdotes associated with Texas' fabled cowboy hero burst from the pages in rapid succession, Kellogg's robust illustrations enlarging and enriching the choppy, energetic text that is seasoned with Texan expressions. In dramatizing Pecos Bill's life story, Kellogg also conveys a sense of place, of the rugged, expansive physical beauty of the American West in pioneer days. Yellow-oranges and blues dominate the scenes, in tones that range from dust-pale to midnight blue. Skillful framing and alternating of perspectives enhance readers' involvement: vast panoramas in which people are dwarfed by endless stretches of land and sky; double-page spreads cluttered with close-up action; breathtaking overviews, as of a tremendous herd of cattle, each steer made distinct, yet part of a near-monochromatic blend of hazy light and animal landscape. In contrast to these lavish illustrations are neatly-boxed illustrations that parallel the text, sometimes spilling from the frames when the action simply can't be contained. Kellogg's style is ideally suited to this tall taleantic, detailed, colorful, hyperbolic. K-5. Questions welcome. [1copy available]
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Price: $ 3.00
Pecos Bill, Kellogg

REFLECTIONS OF A BLACK COWBOY (Book #4 of Mountain Men series) [SIGNED COPY]
by Robert Miller. B&W illustrations by Richard Leonard. Blank bookplate inside front cover. Condition: NEW 1992 Silver Burdett Press Trade Paperback, first printing. SIGNED by Author on half-title page. Content: An old black cowboy is telling stories to his old dog about Blacks in the early history of the United States - a long-ignored area of history. This series sheds some much-needed light and avoids being preachy. The information is solid and written in an active style - aimed at and just about perfect for 6-9th grade boys. It is written in a historical fiction style, rather than a biographical style. The average story is about 20 pages long. Each story has a picture. This book features Mountain Men:: 'Esteban and the Seven Cities of Gold' - First African to enter New Mexico & Arizona as a slave to a Spanish invader; Jean Baptiste Du Sable: Founder of Chicago (Eschikagou - sound it out!); Jim Beckwourth: Mountain Man and Indian Crow Chief; and George McJunkin: Scholar and Cowboy who showed that Native Americans had been on the continent at least since 10,000 years ago. Good Bibliography. Questions welcome. [1 copy left]
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Reflections of Black Cowboy

A RIGHT FINE LIFE: Kit Carson on the Santa Fe Trail (Biographical Novel/Historical Fiction)
text and color illustrations by Andrew Glass. The illustrations (oil paintings) are perfect for evoking the spirit of the old west. Maps decorate the end pages. Condition: NEW 1997 Holiday House hardcover (with reinforced binding) and DJ, first edition, first printing. Content: Noting that the "facts" reported in many books about Kit Carson are based on earlier legendary accounts, Glass spins a tall tale of his own. In this entertaining picture book for older readers, Kit Carson tells of running away as a 16-year-old to join a wagon train bound for Santa Fe. While on the trail, he keeps his head when a prairie fire causes a buffalo stampede, he amputates a man's arm to save his life, and he befriends an Indian girl who helps rid him of fleas and gives him a Cheyenne name meaning Little Chief. The full-page and double-page oil paintings, heavily textured, are as vivid and colorful as the tale. Long notes about the Santa Fe Trail as well as Carson himself add to the usefulness of this action-packed book, which will supplement more traditional histories of the period. Questions welcome. [1 copy available.]
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A Right Fine Life: Kit Carson

SNOWBOUND: The Tragic Story of the Donner Party
by David Lavender. B&W photos and maps. Condition: New 1996 Scholastic edition, 6th printing. Large softcover. Tiny, tiny edgewear. Content: A precise, dispassionate, horrifying account of the Donner party's disastrous trek to California that will have readers counting their blessings. Inspired by a land speculator's highly misleading guidebook, the two large Donner families and several associates set out from Independence, Missouri, in May 1846, were trapped in the High Sierra by snowstorms in November, and after running out of food ate their dead (most of whom died of natural causes); only 48 of the 88 survived to cross the mountains. Lavender avoids the sensational (as much as that is possible) and provides a clear and concise account in which cannibalism is just one more detail. Readers will come away with a much clearer understanding of the hardships and dangers of crossing the continent by wagon train?any wagon train?in the mid-19th century. The black-and-white photographs and prints are accompanied by informative captions. The author concentrates on the portion of the group who wintered by the lake; it was from these people that attempts to go for help originated. Less attention is given to the Donners themselves, who were trapped in the meadow camp along Alder Creek, but the basic facts are here. This is an excellent addition to existing materials on the westward movement, providing a solid treatment of an event not covered at length in other books for this age group.
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text by Harry Knill. B&W drawins for coloring by Alan Archambault. Condition: UNREAD, but not perfect, 1991 Bellerophon soft cover 9stapled wraps), no printing given. Light shelf wear bottom edge. Content: The text tells the story of the history of California to the space shuttle. The flags are very inventive (as fits California, IMHO) and the text interesting. Good teaching tool. [1 copy available]
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Price: $ 5.00
Story of  California Coloring Book

by Paul Robert Walker. Great detailed map of the "wild west" with other maps plus era sepai-tone photos, artwork, and drawings. Excellent! Condition: NEW 2001 National Geographic hardcover (decorated boards) & DJ (in mylar jacket), no printing given. Content: This wonderful collection of true tales by a noted storyteller presents a lively, historically accurate, and often surprising picture of America’s Wild West. Period images and vivid quotes draw readers into each meticulously researched tale. Kids set out with Lewis and Clark in search of a route to the Pacific; join Narcissa Whitman and Eliza Spalding, the first white women to cross the Rocky Mountains; ride with the Pony Express; shoot it out with the Earps and the Clantons; head north to strike it rich in the Klondike; and share all kinds of other exciting adventures as Americans push westward. Arranged chronologically, the unfolding tales give readers a highly entertaining history of the American West. Ages 9+. Questions welcome. [1 copy available]
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True Tales of Wild West

text and color illustrations by Jillian Lund. Condition: NEW 1993 Puffin soft cover, 7th printing. Content: Distant indigo mesas, golden-brown sand, sun-baked rocks and green cacti suggest the landscape of the American Southwest in this unassuming, beguiling debut. The eponymous Frank, recognizable by his gray fur and orange-patterned bandanna, chases a rabbit and a skunk with his coyote friend Larry, investigates a tortoise and a gila monster, and flirts with a female coyote. The decorative illustrations and minimal, matter-of-fact text share a forthright simplicity (this very directness, in fact, produces a quiet humor), while the easygoing characters and warm earth tones exude affability. Lund takes a coloring-book approach, neatly filling bold black outlines with solid, almost imperceptibly shaded hues. Such occasional details as a horned toad's spots and a smoothly curving rattlesnake's scales break up the art's overall blockiness. Western cliches are put to droll use here, and readers -- particularly the very young--may respond favorably to the uncomplicated images and Frank's playful expressions (especially the mischievous glint in those shifty eyes). Too cool for words! Ages 4-7. [1 copy available]
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Way Out West Lives A Coyote Named Frank

art by Geraktv. Condition: NEW package of 12 bookplates made by pacaritambo books. The peel-off label stock is heavier than most bookplate materials and is matte and not glossy. They are as perfect as possible, and we feel the subject matter is much different than you can get anywhere else. 3.0" H x 4.0" W. Content: Brown cowboy books with spurs highlight this "weathered" orange-brown background - you can also see a Stetson and a cow skull - all of which represent the American Old West. We can personalize your bookplate (the font is Belwe Bd BT) - just email us the name. Any questions, click here to email us.
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Cowboy Bookplates

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