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Author: Hoefler, Kate
Illustrator: Bean, Jonathan
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Year Published: 2017
ISBN: 9780544148925
Grades: Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4, Kindergarten

Real Cowboys

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Society’s view of cowboys seem to be mostly based on old movies of John Wayne and the rugged, strong and silent male stereotype. Hoefler takes on this stereotype and shows cowboys as deeper, well rounded people. Going through the typical duties of cowboys, readers discover that “real” cowboys are caretakers who sing to cattle, care for their animals, persevere in the face of hardship, and sometimes, cry. The illustrations are expressionistic, in subtle shades of blue, show generally male, white cowboys, but a nod is made at the end to the reality that cowboys can be of many colours and even girls. The text is best read aloud, with a lilt reminiscent of the country songs that celebrate cowboys everywhere. A wonderful way to show boys (and girls) that simplistic masculine stereotypes are being shifted to a more nuanced vision of men and women. K-4
Lissa Davies

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