All the Things

A blog by Holly Papa.

The Toughest Cowboy

by | Jan 20, 2009 | Blog | 5 comments

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.

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?


  1. Deanna H

    I first heard this book on CD and loved it! Thanks for reminding me about it.

  2. Fulano

    The artistry in that book is intangible. Definetly a hoot and a hollar as you put the words to pictures. If you happen to like the wild west and you think you’re tough as nails it’s definetly a book to read and share with kids, especially if you have boys.

  3. Nancy

    This looks hilarious! Love the cover- I’d like to show this to my girls in the morning and ask who they’d rather have comb their hair HIM or me : )

  4. caribookscoops

    Holly – This sounds fantastic. I will have to check it out. I love that he is caring a brush and pink hair bow and nose picking !?! Interesting.

  5. hollybookscoops

    Deanna H- Happy to help out! I would love to listen on cd sometime.

    Fulano- I agree wholeheartedly. This book just would not be the same without the illustrations. While it is great on its own merits, the pictures won us over hook, ball and sinker. (I think that’s how it goes, I’m actually not a fisher myself).

    Nancy- I’m curious to know what your girls choose. Keep us posted.

    Cari- It is fantastic, your girls would love it!



  1. Saturday Review of Books: January 24, 2009 at Semicolon - [...] the Departed)121. Girl Detective (King Richard II)122. caribookscoops (Sisters of the Sword)123. hollybookscoops (Toughest Cowboy or how the West…

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