This clever celebration of words and their meanings features a strong cowgirl who wrangles words alongside cattle.
Lexie is the best wrangler west of the Mississippi—word wrangler, that is. She watches over baby letters while they grow into words and ties shorter words together into longer ones; she herds words into sentences, hitches sentences together, and pens them all in to tell a story. But lately, something seems off at the ranch. First the d goes missing from her bandana, leaving her with a banana to tie around her neck, and soon afterward every S-T-A-R in the sky turns into R-A-T-S. There’s no doubt about it—there’s a word rustler causing this ruckus, and Lexie plans to track him down . . . even if it means riding her horse through the sticky icing of a desert that’s suddenly become a giant dessert.
This fantastic spin on “cowboy” stories populates Lexie’s ranch with lively letters and words, alongside the typical cattle and horses, and stars a smart, confident, charismatic heroine. Rebecca Van Slyke’s creative, silly wordplay pairs perfectly with Jessie Hartland’s lively illustrations, and there’s even a glossary of helpful terms for up-and-coming word wranglers.
About the Author
Rebecca Van Slyke (rebeccavanslyke.com) also wrote Mom School and Dad School. Growing up, she always wanted to be a cowboy. Born in Washington state, she has also lived in Texas, New Mexico, Indiana, and Colorado. She studied marine biology and has a teaching degree, as well as a Masters of Fine Arts degree in writing. Currently, she teaches second grade in Lynden, Washington, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and miniature dachshund.
Jessie Hartland (jessiehartland.com) has written and illustrated many picture books, including Steve Jobs: Insanely Great!, How the Dinosaur Got to the Museum, Bon Appetit: the Delicious Life of Julia Child, and How the Meteorite got to the Museum. Her paintings have been exhibited in Venice, Tokyo, Long Island, and New York City. She has painted murals at a Japanese amusement park, designed Christmas windows for Bloomingdale’s, and put her mark on ceramics, watches, and all sorts of other things. Her illustrations have appeared in the New York Times, Travel and Leisure Family, Martha Stewart Kids, Bon Appetit, and Fit Pregnancy. She lives in New York City.
* “Colorful language abounds in the clever, playful text, which will amuse kids. . . . Teachers, meanwhile, will appreciate the references to compound words, anagrams, and other wordplay. Created in a rather childlike style that perfectly suits the story’s droll, understated tone, Hartland’s expressive gouache paintings include enough detail to help kids visualize the scenes, while illustrating the action with considerable wit. Highly recommended for reading aloud, just for the fun of it.”—Booklist, starred review
* “Lexie is a cowgirl, but she wrangles words, not cattle—a concept that Van Slyke and Hartland explore with droll wordplay and bold, folk art–style artwork. . . . Luckily for readers, Van Slyke and Hartland deliver linguistic delights on every page. Compound words, anagrams, word chains, puns—is there anything Lexie (and this book) can’t do?”—Publishers Weekly,starred review
* “Hartland's quirky gouache illustrations, reminiscent of Maira Kalman's work, play up the Western-style humor. . . . Here's hoping Van Slyke and Hartland will round up some more nifty yarns, as this is clever wordplay to share with kids.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review