Pecos Bill: The Greatest Cowboy of All Time is a book that was published in 1937. It also received the title of Newberry Honor Book. 70 years later, New York Review Books brought this classic back into print, much to my delight. The book begins with an introduction by the author that explains that these book is folklore. That means that while there may be bits of truth in these stories, they are tall tales for the most part, which were a big part of American literature.
The book begins with young Bill being four years old. His family was migrating westward and travelling by a covered wagon. To his family's knowledge, he was asleep in the back of the wagon. He actually fell out of the wagon; was found by a coyote, who raised him; and taught him everything about the outdoors. Bill, therefore, grew up believing that he was a full-blooded coyote. In Chapter Two, Bill met a human nicknamed Chuck. The two conversed as best they could, and it was here that Bill re-learned the English language. He also finally learned that he was indeed a human and not a coyote. He wasn't happy to learn this, and it took a great deal of convincing, but the bit of evidence that finally won him over was when Chuck realized that Bill was his long-lost brother. Other chapters include Pecos Bill becoming a cowpuncher (a cowboy); Pecos Bill busting a cyclone; and Pecos Bill meeting his love, Slue-Foot Sue.
Reading tall tales about characters such as Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill should be required reading for all children in the United States. This book is recommended for children ages 9 to 12, and it does have some illustrations in it. That being said, it still is a 250 page book, so if your children are on the younger end of that range, you might want to make it a read-aloud book, which isn't a big deal, because this is a book that the whole family will enjoy. I know mine did. I highly recommend this book for all the cowboys and cowgirls out there.
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