Written by Maripat Perkins
Illustrated by Molly Idle
Cowgirl Rodeo Red and her trusty sidekick Rusty (aka a stuffed dog) were perfectly happy until Sideswiping Slim (aka her new baby brother) came to town. Rodeo Red knew he was trouble the first time she laid eyes on him, but the Sheriff and Deputy (aka her parents) seemed to love the little varmint. As Slim grows he becomes more of a nuisance and begins to encroach on Red’s territory. When Rusty goes missing, Red knows there can be only one culprit. She tries to grab Rusty out of Slim’s clutches, but his loud cries get her into trouble. “Wouldn’t you know Slim would have the law on his side?” she thinks as she lands in the holding cell (aka the Time Out chair). When Red’s city slicker aunt sends her a new fluffy stuffed animal for her birthday, she comes up with an idea to settle the score. She gives Slim the new toy and gets Rusty back in exchange.
Parents and teachers, get ready to drum up a serious twang when reading this story aloud, which is chock full of entertaining similes and old west slang (“He looked as slippery as a snake’s belly in a mudslide.”) The soft pastel illustrations have a sweet, old-fashioned quality to them and are cleverly drawn to create a young cowgirl’s fantasy world. First grade readers can learn from Red’s example of coming up with a solution to a problem on her own.