Black cowboy, wild horses A true story

Julius Lester

Book - 1998

A black cowboy is so in tune with wild mustangs that they accept him into the herd, thus enabling him singlehandedly to take them to the corral.

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Subjects
Genres
Picture books
Published
New York : Dial Books 1998.
Edition
1st ed
Language
English
Physical Description
unpaged : ill
ISBN
0803717873
0803717881
Main Author
Julius Lester (-)
Other Authors
Jerry Pinkney (illustrator)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Ages 5^-9. One of every three cowboys who helped tame the Wild West was either Mexican or black. This is the true story of one of the latter, Bob Lemmons. In language rich with simile and metaphor, Lester's account focuses on the former slave's uncanny tracking abilities as he trails a herd of mustangs as well as his mission to tame the wild horses and lead them back to the corral. Pinkney's earth-colored gouache and watercolor paintings add the look of the Texas plains to Lester's account and capture the energy of the horses as they gallop across sweeping, double-page spreads. Lester and Pinkney's manifest love and respect for the West and cowboys of color, whose contributions have been too long overlooked, distinguish their latest collaboration. ((Reviewed May 1, 1998)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

A spirit of freedom pervades the pages of this picture book, accompanied by the sound of thundering hooves and the feel of the heat and dust of the plains. Based on an incident in the life of Texas cowboy Bob Lemmons, the tale centers on his success in corralling a herd of wild mustangs with only the aid of his horse. Possessed of a legendary tracking ability, Lemmons, a former slave, follows the drove day and night, infiltrating the herd astride his black steed, Warrior. In a dramatic climax, he defeats the mustang stallion for possession of the herd. Lester and Pinkney, who previously collaborated on John Henry and Sam and the Tigers, reunite in an impressive display of teamwork, transporting readers, through the alchemy of visual and verbal imagery, to the heart of the action. The resulting sense of immediacy offers a vivid taste of the cowboy life, whether it's hunkering down all night during a sluicing rain or riding under the wide-open skies. Lester studs his seamless prose with powerful descriptions, such as when a hawk is "suspended on cold threads of unseen winds," or the mustangs sweep toward the corral as "a dark surge of flesh flashing across the plains like black lightning." The fluid brushwork of Pinkney's watercolors seem tailor-made for the flow of muscle, mane and tail of wild mustangs galloping across the prairie. Notable for the light it sheds on a fascinating slice of Americana, this book is essential for anyone interested in the Wild West. Ages 5-up. (May)

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

A spirit of freedom pervades the pages of this picture book, accompanied by the sound of thundering hooves and the feel of the heat and dust of the plains. Based on an incident in the life of Texas cowboy Bob Lemmons, the tale centers on his success in corralling a herd of wild mustangs with only the aid of his horse. Possessed of a legendary tracking ability, Lemmons, a former slave, follows the drove day and night, infiltrating the herd astride his black steed, Warrior. In a dramatic climax, he defeats the mustang stallion for possession of the herd. Lester and Pinkney, who previously collaborated on John Henry and Sam and the Tigers, reunite in an impressive display of teamwork, transporting readers, through the alchemy of visual and verbal imagery, to the heart of the action. The resulting sense of immediacy offers a vivid taste of the cowboy life, whether it's hunkering down all night during a sluicing rain or riding under the wide-open skies. Lester studs his seamless prose with powerful descriptions, such as when a hawk is "suspended on cold threads of unseen winds," or the mustangs sweep toward the corral as "a dark surge of flesh flashing across the plains like black lightning." The fluid brushwork of Pinkney's watercolors seem tailor-made for the flow of muscle, mane and tail of wild mustangs galloping across the prairie. Notable for the light it sheds on a fascinating slice of Americana, this book is essential for anyone interested in the Wild West. Ages 5-up. (May) Copyright 1998 Publishers Weekly Reviews

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Pinkney and Lester add a picture-book chapter to the lore of this nation's "true West" with the retelling of a story of a wild horse hunt by the black cowboy Bob Lemmons. He and his stallion, Warrior, wander on the prairie until they find the tracks of the animals they seek. Bob then spends days in a very slow approach to the herd. Horse and rider finally join the herd and are accepted by the wild horses, until at last Bob challenges the lead stallion for control. On Warrior's back, he fights the stallion, defeats him, and then leads the animals into captivity in the ranch corral. Throughout, both text and pictures emphasize the blending of all life. The linkages between the cowboy, the animals, and the natural world are so strong that lines separating them are blurred. Lester and Pinkney's stated aims were to recast their childhood love of cowboys and the Old West with more recent historical research into the contributions of men of color, both black and Hispanic. They have done that, and achieved something else as well: youngsters will reflect on the relationships between humans and other animals. Pinkney's pictures were never better, making it all the more unfortunate that text boxes cover some of the action. Lester's overuse of metaphor is also a drawback. Still, this book will inspire heavy-duty thinking on the part of young readers. Ruth Semrau, formerly at Lovejoy School, Allen, TX Copyright 1998 School Library Journal Reviews

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A Black cowboy is so in tune with wild mustangs that they accept him into the herd, thus enabling him singlehandedly to take them to the corral

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A black cowboy is so in tune with wild mustangs that they accept him into the herd, thus enabling him singlehandedly to take them to the corral.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Bob Lemmons is famous for his ability to track wild horses. He rides his horse, Warrior, picks up the trail of mustangs, then runs with them day and night until they accept his presence. Bob and Warrior must then challenge the stallion for leadership of the wild herd. A victorious Bob leads the mustangs across the wide plains and for one last spectacular run before guiding them into the corral. Bob's job is done, but he dreams of galloping with Warrior forever to where the sky and land meet.This splendid collaboration by an award-winning team captures the beauty and harshness of the frontier, a boundless arena for the struggle between freedom and survival. Based on accounts of Bob Lemmons, a former slave, Black Cowboy, Wild Horses has been rewritten as a picture book by Julius Lester from his story "The Man Who Was a Horse" in Long Journey Home, first published by Dial in 1972.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Bob Lemmons is famous for his ability to track wild horses. He rides his horse, Warrior, picks up the trail of mustangs, then runs with them day and night until they accept his presence. Bob and Warrior must then challenge the stallion for leadership of the wild herd. A victorious Bob leads the mustangs across the wide plains and for one last spectacular run before guiding them into the corral. Bob?s job is done, but he dreams of galloping with Warrior forever?to where the sky and land meet.This splendid collaboration by an award-winning team captures the beauty and harshness of the frontier, a boundless arena for the struggle between freedom and survival. Based on accounts of Bob Lemmons, a former slave, Black Cowboy, Wild Horses has been rewritten as a picture book by Julius Lester from his story ?The Man Who Was a Horse? in Long Journey Home, first published by Dial in 1972.