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!



Written by David L. Harrison, Illustrated by Dan Burr

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.

For more fantastic picture books and resources please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books.

Categories: 12 x 12 Featured Author, Authors, Children's Books, Perfect Picture Book Friday, Picture Books, Poetry, Rhyming, Writing · Tags: , , , , ,



  1. Love COWBOYS! Love David! An excellent addition to PPBF. 🙂

  2. I used this one for research – great pick!

  3. Great PPBF and poetry month pick, Julie! I do love that video!

  4. This will be a perfect read to get me in the mood for the Wild, Wild Mid-West SCBWI conference! 😉

  5. Melanie Ellsworth

    The book sounds wonderful! I had trouble with the link to the video, for some reason, but I was able to get to No Water River (thanks for introducing me to that wonderful site!) and watch David Harrison read “In the School Band” which brought back fun band memories.

  6. Don’t normally think of tough cowboys and poetry coming together. But, this sounds like an excellent book for kids — especially boys. Great choice. Tried the link to watch the video and it didn’t work. Will have to go to Renee’s website.

  7. I love this, Julie! I remember seeing David read from it on Renee’s blog a while back. Great addition to the list 🙂

  8. Yes I am surprised too, having cowboys and poetry wrapped up as one. Great for boys. Thanks Julie.

  9. Manly AND poetic – nice combination. Thanks, Julie, for introducing us to this.

  10. I keep forgetting about Cowboys how could I? 😉 Go David!

  11. Oh! This looks like a great one! We have cowboys everywhere here. All shapes and sizes. And cowboy poetry readings too! I’m gonna have to go check this book out! Thanks for sharing!

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