or How the Wild West Was Tamed

by John Frank, illustrated by Zachary Pullen

The cover of this book is a challenge. A stare-down with the toughest cowboy. Do you dare open the book? Hmmm. Wait a minute. Subtly using my peripheral vision, I note that he has a hair brush in his right hand and . . . is that a pink ribbon in his left hand? (gasp) It is!  Ooh. I dare.

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Dares often involve something unpleasant, maybe a little nauseating. Grizz Brickbottom is both. He drinks Tabasco sauce like water, flosses with barbed wire and sleeps with a rattlesnake. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. His cowboy buddies are stinkier, and grosser. Grizz Brickbottom has had enough! He decides he needs someone with silky hair, and a lovely smell. Someone who will give him lots of sweet kisses.

At this point I was a little nervous. Is he gonna try to get a girl? Maybe I should have read ahead before I sat down with the boys. Well, full speed ahead. Bedtime’s fast approaching.

Sure enough, the next time he goes to town he gets his girl. Not just any girl either. He gets himself a prim, proper, no nonsense . . . dainty little miniature poodle, named Foofy. We dissolved into fits and giggles.

So did all the guys out on the range.

A great tale of grossness and the power of love that my boys swallowed whole. Are you looking for an opportunity to discuss nose-picking with your kids? This is a great opener. Pullen’s illustrations bring added laughter and hilarity to the puns and banter that Frank has created for his lovable characters. Okay, maybe only a mother could love them, or maybe some boogery, tooty rebel boys. Either way, it was unanimous at our house. My kids now think animals are a good substitute for reform school. What do you think?