Former Montessori teacher Maripat Perkins’ debut picture book, Rodeo Red, will wake up the drowsiest bedtime-story reader. Illustrator Molly Idle (Flora and the Flamingo) brings drama and an animated sensibility to the story of the wild, wild west.
Rodeo Red’s favorite things in the world are her cowboy hat, her lasso and her stuffed hound dog, Rusty. Suddenly, Sideswiping Slim, a new baby, shows up and ruins everything. Rodeo Red thinks that “anybody who hollered that much would be hauled to the edge of town and told to Skedaddle.” But the Sheriff and her Deputy—aka her parents—seem smitten, so Rodeo Red decides to lay low—but things don’t get any better.
When Rusty goes missing, Rodeo Red knows who is to blame. Slim has fallen asleep with poor Rusty in his clutches. She tries to get Rusty back but ends up hollering at Slim, who wakes the whole house. “Wouldn’t you know Slim would have the law on his side?” she says.
A belated birthday gift from Rodeo Red’s Aunt Sal may prove just the impetus to get Rusty back. After all’s said and done, Red climbs on her rocking horse to put her boots up for a spell before the next adventure. No doubt there will be many.
Billie B. Little is the Founding Director of Discovery Center at Murfree Spring, a hands-on museum in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.