My Daddy is a Cowboy

By Stephanie Seales
Review by
There is so much to love about My Daddy Is a Cowboy, a gorgeous book that celebrates Black urban horsemanship.
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Quietly and sweetly, before the sun rises, a father finds his daughter already awake in anticipation and places a cowboy hat on her head. This will be a “just us” morning: They will ride the streets of their cityscape on horseback, Daddy on his longtime mare, Power, and our young narrator on her pony, Clover. 

Along with the rest of the city, Mommy and the girl’s little brother are still asleep, but Abuelita is up first as usual, her coffee brewed strong. She gives the narrator a paper bag of apple slices and sends the two on their way. They travel by motorcycle to a backyard ranch in the middle of the city, complete with horse stalls and hay. The narrator splits her apple slices between Power and Clover, enjoying Power’s “soft, velvety nose,” and Clover’s mane that “looks kind of like the hay she eats but feels softer.” Then they brush, saddle up and ride through the streets of the sleeping city until the sun rises and the city wakes up. 

There is so much to love about My Daddy Is a Cowboy, a gorgeous book that celebrates Black urban horsemanship. The illustrations by C.G. Esperanza are breathtaking, awash in color with bold swaths of paint that make sharp contrasts between the dark predawn and the splashes of color from Daddy’s purple jacket, the narrator’s hair beads and her little leather cowboy boots. Their facial expressions are captured so perfectly: You can see the wonder on the child’s face as they ride, as well as the love in Daddy’s eyes as he watches his little cowboy continue a sacred tradition. Readers can look at their faces and call to mind someone they love dearly, remembering all the times they shared together over something special and intimate—something for “just us.” 

This book hits all the high points of Black cowboy culture and will be a must-have on the shelf for all budding enthusiasts eager to see themselves represented authentically and beautifully. Giddyup! 

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My Daddy Is a Cowboy

My Daddy Is a Cowboy

By Stephanie Seales
ISBN 9781419760815

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