In honor of both our April 12 x 12 featured author David Harrison and poetry month, I decided to feature one of our all-time favorite collections of poetry — Cowboys! Not only the poems evocative, funny, and thought-provoking, the illustrations are phenomenal. You will swear looking at some of them that they are photographs. This book is a great way to round out Poetry Month!
Windsong, April 2012
Suitable for: Ages 7-9
Themes/Topics: Cowboys, Poetry, Old West, Horses, Books for Boys
Opening/Synopsis: From Amazon: The life of a cowboy driving a cattle herd was hard. It took a person with grit to drive a thousand head of longhorns along the Chisholm Trail. Cowboys faced badlands, lightning storms, and deadly twisters. But they also found time to swap stories around the campfire. David L. Harrison has created a cast of tough-as-leather cowboys who speak their minds in twenty-two entertaining poems, brought to life by Dan Burr’s dramatic paintings. Readers follow the cowboys from roundup on a ranch in Texas to the one-thousand-mile trek to market in Abilene, Kansas, where they finally let loose.
Activities: First, have your kids watch this video of David reading a poem from Cowboys on the amazing No Water River poetry website. You could have kids write their own cowboy poems using another of David’s Books, Easy Poetry Lessons that Dazzle and Delight, as a guide. Another great exercise would be to ask kids which poems are their favorites and why, as there are many different styles and topics in the book. Finally, I think it would be great to have kids pair up and write response poems!
Why I Like This Book: It is true that the illustrations by Dan Burr in this book are strikingly beautiful, but equally beautiful are the stories David paints with his words. This collection of poems kept my fidgety son riveted and asking many questions about vocabulary and meaning. I love that children are both drawn in by the poems and also challenged by them. The poems are so evocative and run such a range of topics and emotions, there is truly something for everyone. I’ve read from this book to my kids’ classes and it’s never failed to be a hit. And why not? It’s a treasure of a book.