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February 15, 2016 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Westerns for Youth
There aren’t a lot of westerns published for young readers, but the existing ones sure are memorable. This list of the best western-themed books for children reviewed in the past five years in Booklist covers the genre from every angle imaginable and offers something for a wide age range, from the youngest bucking broncos to the most grizzled cowteens.
Bad News for Outlaws. By Vaunda Micheaux Nelson. Illus. by R. Gregory Christie. 2009. Carolrhoda, $17.95 (9780822567646). Gr. 3–5.
With narrative swagger and visual panache, this picture book introduces a criminally overlooked frontier hero, Bass Reeves, who was born a slave but became one of the most feared and respected deputy U.S. marshals to tame the West.
The Case of the Deadly Desperados. By Caroline Lawrence. 2012. Putnam, $16.99 (9780399256332). Gr. 4–6.
Mixing Wild West and detective lore, this novel sends P. K. Pinkerton on the run from a vicious outlaw who wants to get his hands on a deed left to Pinkerton by his famous railroad-detective pa.
Cowboy Stories. Illus. by Barry Moser. 2007. Chronicle, $16.95 (9780811854184). Gr. 7–12.
Featuring the gunslingers, lawmen, and cowpokes that define the genre, this collection of stories by the likes of Louis L’Amour, Elmer Kelton, Elmore Leonard, and Larry McMurtry each come outfitted with one of Moser’s moody, weathered woodcuts.
The Desperado Who Stole Baseball. By John H. Ritter. 2009. Philomel, $17.99 (9780399246647). Gr. 5–8.
Twelve-year-old Jack Dillon fancies himself the “world’s greatest baseballist in the ‘tire nation,” but the fella he befriends on his way to California—the lightning-reflexed Billy the Kid—isn’t too shabby either.
The Devil’s Paintbox. By Victoria McKernan. 2009. Knopf, $16.99 (9780375837500). Gr. 8–12.
Aiden and his younger sister journey in a wagon train from their impoverished home in Kansas to Oregon, a cruel journey through smallpox epidemics, violent attacks, and horrible accidents.
Dust Devil. By Anne Isaacs. Illus. by Paul O. Zelinsky. 2010. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99 (9780375867224). PreS–Gr. 2.
In tales as tall as the sky, Isaacs spins yarns of the barefoot, bear-wrestling Angelica Longrider as she rearranges mountains, tames a tornado, and takes on Backward Bart and his gang of bandits.
Emily’s Fortune. By Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. Illus. by Ross Collins. 2010. Delacorte, $14.99 (9780385736169). Gr. 3–5.
Emily hardly has time to learn about the huge fortune she’s inherited before she runs afoul of her dastardly uncle during a stagecoach journey in the West.
Avi shows how gold fever can hamstring even the loftiest of intentions, as young Early takes off after an uncle who claims to have struck it rich in the Rocky Mountains.
How to Get Rich in the California Gold Rush. By Tod Olson. Illus. by Scott Allred. 2008. National Geographic, $16.95 (9781426303159). Gr. 4–8.
A lighthearted entry point into frontier life, this blend of history and story provides readers with an insider’s view of three men trying their luck prospecting for gold.
Written in Blood. By John Wilson. 2010. Orca, paper, $12.95 (9781554692705). Gr. 6–9.
This traditional pulp-style oater sends a Canadian teenager on a journey to find his vanished father, encountering road agents, roving Apaches, and climactic gunfights along the way.
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