Monday, January 3, 2011

Kylie Jean, Rodeo Queen

Rodeo Queen (Kylie Jean)Rodeo Queen by Marci Peschke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Seriously. How cute is this? I am not one to go for the sparkly pink titles (though I know my students TOTALLY do!) and I still enjoyed this beginning chapter book.

Kylie Jean dreams of becoming a beauty queen. In this particular title she decides one way she will accomplish this goal is by participating in the rodeo. As a fellow Texan of course this automatically caught my attention.

I can't help it. I loved the line when she visits the library to get a book on rodeo rope tricks. The librarian smiles but then shushes her ... and Kylie Jean tells us "Although it is true that I am known for being loud, on occasion"(29).

The story is fun. The characters are interesting (the dog is named Ugly Brother--that is just priceless!). The illustrations are winsome and quirky. There are great examples of description in terms of the writing. I think this is a winner.

There are some enjoyable (if a bit formulaic) extra discussion questions and activities at the end of the book, as well as a digital press and event kit. I was delightfully surprised to find 1)the author is a school librarian, and 2)the illustrator graduated from my alma mater.

I guess the only other thing I might say is that KJ learns to barrel race well enough to WIN in a very short amount of time. I am not sure that could really be done (if something is worth doing it takes some patience and effort!) and wonder if it might give some readers unrealistic expectations for themselves. That said ... I know I'll still be getting copies for our library.

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