*The Dirty Cowboy by Amy Timberlake, illustrated by Adam Rex

*The Dirty Cowboy by Amy Timberlake, illustrated by Adam Rex. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003. 32 pages.

Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 4-8
Recommended For: ages 4-8 (especially boys)

dirty cowboy1086428This ol’ boy needs a bath! Four characteristics of an outstanding picture book read-aloud include: great story, excellent artwork, quotable lines, and a fun accent. The Dirty Cowboy scores highly on all counts.

Long overdue for a scrub, a cowboy goes down to the river and gives his faithful dog strict instructions: ‘Dawg!’ he said. ‘No one touches these clothes but me. Hear?’ After enjoying a cleansing romp in the water, the cowboy returns to fetch his duds for soaping. Unfortunately, his obedient dog doesn’t recognize him without the familiar cowboy stench and fiercely guards the pile. A hilarious tussle ensues between faithful dog and squeaky clean cowboy, and by the end of the book, the devoted dog now recognizes the scent of the once-again-dirty-cowboy…but the clothes have bitten the dust.

The story is told with an irresistible drawl that is fun to read. The cowboy’s birthday suit is carefully guarded in the illustrations (parents should be aware, but the effect is humorous), and any child who has an opinion about taking a bath will appreciate this lively story. Great fun.

Cautions: Mild bathTUB humor

Overall Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)  

  • Worldview Rating: 4
  • Artistic Rating: 5

Categories: Picture Books
Cover image from Goodreads
*indicates starred review

Support our writers and help keep Redeemed Reader ad-free.

FREE through January 31!

Reading Ahead for You

Reviews and Resources Weekly in Your Inbox
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.


Megan is Associate Editor for Redeemed Reader who loves nothing more than helping readers (and non-readers) find books which are not only a good fit for them, but also combine Truth and Story. She has never regretted reading all those fairy tales in childhood, even though she didn’t realize at the time how much they matter to real life. She is the founder of Literaritea Press and plans to publish her first picture book soon. Megan lives with her husband and five boys in Virginia where she enjoys knitting, playing with words, and mountain views.

Leave a Comment