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Cowboys
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Gr 2 Up-- In a couple hundred words and just 14 double-page spreads, Rounds captures moments in the daily work of ordinary cowpokes doing their thing out in big-sky, you-can-see-80-miles-in-any-direction Montana country. Each spread is a jewel of strong outlines, limited color, and just enough background lines to suggest what's out there. Each is also a perfect example of truth, beauty, sly humor, and actions caught at high moments. These are not cinema cowboys acting out literary scenes on a prettied-up lot in Burbank; rather, they are lean, rugged men who have a job to do--and do it. What's more, the horses and cattle are of the same stripe. Mix them all up with a snoose can or two of ranchland orneriness, and you've got wonderful moments that Rounds has rustled up for all to enjoy. A lollapalooza. --George Gleason, Department of English, Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield

A spare text and lively, rough-hewn sketches round up some typical events in a cowboy's day. ``In the bunkhouse after supper, the cowboys play cards or read western story magazines.'' In the morning a cowboy catches and, after a struggle, saddles his horse. A day on the range handling strayed and stampeding cattle ends with the corralling of the critters for the night, supper and free time in the bunkhouse. Rounds's illustrations feature characters strongly outlined in black, broad strokes of color and spatters of sprayed paint--even the rustic lettering suggests the Old West. But the sophisticated approach to these seemingly unpolished techniques makes the book a visual treat. Told in episodic fashion rather than following a traditional plot line, this is a satisfying tribute to a favorite figure in American folklore. Ages 3-8. (Apr.)

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