Tonight we read cowboy stories, which have a lot of kid appeal. There’s adventure, and horses, and outlaws, and big hats. What’s not to like?
Moo Cow, Ka-Boom! by Thacher Hurd
Written by Thacher Hurd, son of Goodnight Moon illustrator Clement Hurd, this one is terrific fun to read aloud. Farmer George’s Moo Cow is stolen by a space cowboy named Zork, who plans to ride her in the Inter-Galactic Rodeo. Certain books will always remind me of other people, who read them especially well, and this one belongs to my friend Barbara B.
Giddy-up, Daddy! by Troy Cummings
My daughter’s current favorite picture book. It features a dad who gives the world’s best horsey rides. So good, in fact, that he is kidnapped by horse rustlers. His two kids rush to the rescue, pursuing the horse thieves through a rodeo, a circus, a polo match, the Kentucky Derby, and all the way to Canada. This one is a great read-aloud as well, with lots of opportunities for the kids to add sound effects like gasps and boos and galloping noises.
Let’s Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy by Jan Thomas
Jan Thomas writes wonderfully goofy books that are made to be read aloud to large groups. In this one, a cowboy’s lullaby to his cows is constantly interrupted by scary things (a big hairy spider, a snake) he thinks he sees. The kids loved joining in on the “EEKs!”
Tucker’s Spooky Halloween by Leslie McGuirk
Okay, this wasn’t in my plan for the evening. But, as I’ve mentioned before, the holiday books are right next to the storytime area, and kids are constantly pulling out Halloween books (especially this one!) and begging me to read them. Last night was no exception. Coincidentally though, this one is about a dog who wants to dress up as something scary for Halloween, and is disappointed when his owner wants his to dress up as…a cowboy!
Are You a Horse? by Andy Rash
A cowboy sets out to find a horse for his new saddle, but, since he doesn’t know what a horse is, he approaches everything from a wagon to a tree sloth. The kids liked yelling out what the different “not a horse” things were, and the surprise twist at the end made everyone laugh.
A variation of the Hokey Pokey I learned from Karin M. at the Foster City Library (she did a wonderful cowboy storytime recently, where they also sang “Deep in the Heart of Texas” and “Every Cowboy Needs a Horse.”) For this version of the song, instead of your feet, you put your spurs (right and left) in. You can also put your lasso in, your hat (head) in, and finally ride your horse in.
In retrospect, I could have made Bingo a horse, as in, “There was a cowboy had a horse and Bingo was his name-o.” Instead, I did my usual variation, where we barked the missing letters.
If I had had a younger group, I would have done one of my favorite baby/toddler songs, which a lap-bounce to the tune of the William Tell Overture (Lone Ranger theme):
Giddy-up, giddy-up, giddy-up-UP-UP! (bounce child on knees)
Giddy-up, giddy-up, giddy-up-UP-UP!
Giddy-up, giddy-up, giddy-up-UP-UP!
Whoa, Horsey! (Pull child back into a hug against your chest)
INSTRUMENT PLAYALONG WITH A CD: Bling Blang by Arlo Guthrie from the Sing Along with Putumayo album.
CRAFT: Foot Print Horses
I got this craft from Busy Bee Crafts, one of my favorite kids craft sites. It did require some adult help to trace out the kid’s feet. Luckily, the kids were mostly all old enough to cut out the footprints themselves. I supplied the one-inch pieces of black yarn, the wiggly eyes, the neck (basically a long triangle with the top point cut off), and the ears (triangles). It worked pretty well, and each child assembled their horse slightly differently, so they each made the project their own.
What are your favorite cowboy, Wild West, or horse stories?