(B) Ages 4-8, (C) Ages 8-10, Book Reviews, Boys, Multicultural, Nonfiction, Picture Books
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Let ‘er Buck! by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

Black cowboy George Fletcher, the “People’s Champion,” is the subject of this story from the old west.

Let ‘er Buck! George Fletcher, the People’s Champion by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illustrated by Gordon C. James. Carolrhoda Books, 2019, 32 pages

Reading Level: Picture Book, ages 4-8

Recommended for: Ages 5-10

When George Fletcher’s family moved from Kansas to Oregon in 1900, he found himself in horse heaven–not only that, but Indians at the local Umatilla reservation became some of his best friends. Growing up black anywhere in the U.S. opened him up to all forms of prejudice, but George quickly found his niche as a horse trainer and cowpuncher–and champion bronco rider. At the 1911 Pendleton Round-up he had the opportunity to prove his mettle. But would he get a fair shake?

Told in a folksy western idiom with exuberant oil illustrations, this little-known slice of Americana is heartwarming and hopeful. A glossary and biographical information fill out the story for older readers.

Cautions: None

Overall rating: 4.5 (out of 5)

  • Worldview/moral value: 4
  • Artistic value: 4.5

For another heartwarming horse story, see Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World about Kindness.

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