Friday, June 17, 2016

White Dynamite and Curly Kidd by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault & illus by Ted Rand

I have a soft spot for all things cowboy--a side effect of marrying a Colorado cowboy. So I might be slightly biased. But I am pretty sure this is an awesome book, no matter how you feel about cowboys. (I mean really, though. Can you actually hate cowboys? I don't think so.)   

*Spoiler Alert

At the end of the book you discover that this little kid, by the name of Lucky, watching Daddy (Curly Kidd) rodeo a bull is a girl. I thought about how I could write about this post without disclosing that, but the whole pronoun usage thing seemed impossibly complicated. So there you have it. Lucky Kidd is a girl.

The entire book is a conversation between Lucky and her Dad. Curly's response is slightly indented. There is no narrator or even he said/she said. It is an interesting format that works really well for this story.

Curly Kidd is focused on riding Dynamite and isn't interested in talking very much beforehand. Most of his responses are monosyllabic. Lucky, on the other hand, is talking a mile a minute.

The bull Curly drew is named Dynamite. Supposed to be the meanest bull in all the United States.

Lucky asks her Dad what he does to stay calm.

Why don't ya' get scared, Dad?
 I think.
About what?
About places.
What kind of places?
Places I'd like to go.
Places I'd like to see.

Lucky gets up on the chute with her Dad and watches him settle onto Dynamite. She is even more nervous now and tries to think about places. 
Riverton, Wyoming...
maybe Casper
an' Cheyenne
Another place
I wanta go
...someday... is...

And then they are out of the chute!

Lucky rhythmically lists place after place in a sing song cadence that is fun to read. 

And Curly sticks.

The bull's sky trackin'...
Tiltin' to the right
in a belly roll.

And Curly rides the whole eight seconds. (Why eight seconds rather than seven or nine?!)

Every time I read this to the kids, I get choked up at this part. 

You prouded me, Dad.
You sure prouded me! 

Lucky's delight and pride in her father is so palpable!

You're perfect, Dad!
All together, 
top to bottom, 
inside out,
and outside in, 
my dad is total perfect!

Oh, the west. I do love cowboys!

And then, there she is. 

Isn't that a sweet book? Lucky is so delighted with her father that you just can't help loving them both. 

Happy Father's Day! 

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