In April, the City of Santa Clarita presents a unique opportunity for your family. You can experience the Old West right here in our valley at the 25th anniversary of the Old Town Newhall Cowboy Poetry Festival. If you love being outdoors, listening and stomping your boots to wonderful music, watching demonstrations of crafts and historical reenactments, admiring people in costume, or even having another chance to dress up yourselves in boots, jeans or long dresses, this is the time of year. There are events taking place April 19-22 in Hart Park, at the Main, and Canyon Theatre Guild. General admission is free. To set the stage for all this excitement the library can provide resources to get your little cowpokes in the mood.
There are a number of series sets of books you can introduce to your “short-stuff pardners.”
Charlie Ranch Dog and Cowgirl Kate can be found in the I Can Read books which are the easier chapter books, great for practicing early reading skills.
In paperback series for more accomplished readers, you can find Saddle Club by Bonnie Bryant and Canterwood Crest by Jessica Burkhart, and Hank the Cowdog by Erickson.
A favorite picture book of mine by one of our local authors is Janet Squires’ Gingerbread Cowboy. Here are some other retellings of classic tales with a Western twist. American folk tales and fairy tales such as Puss in Cowboy Boots by Huling are shelved in the 398’s. Other popular titles are Three Little Javelinas by Susan Lowell, Bubba the Cowboy Prince: a Fractured Texas Tale by Helen Ketteman, and Three Cabritos by Eric Kimmel.
I always seem drawn to books with a food or cooking theme. Kids love to interact with those too! Does your family have some favorite recipes you cook with the children? You may want to sample these: Armadilly Chili by Helen Ketteman Cactus Soup by Eric Kimmel, Tumbleweed Stew by Susan Crummel, a Green Light Reader, even The Three Little Tamales by Eric Kimmel . Still wanting to savor some tasty books? There’s Fandango Stew by David Davis and Who Took the Cookies from the Cookie Jar? by Lass.
Some readers love tales about animals and might enjoy fanciful picture books like The Rattlesnake Who Went to School by Strete , The Great Texas Hamster Drive by Eric Kimmel or Armadillo Tattletale by Helen Ketteman . These three are written by Janet Stevens: Coyote Steals the Blanket: an Ute Tale, , Jackalope and Old Bag of Bones.
There are plenty of boot kickin’, foot stompin’ tunes to be had at our festival and found in books like
Frog Trouble, Deluxe Songbook by Boyton which includes a CD, A History of American Music: Country by Handyside She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain by Sturges, and The Long Gone Lonesome History of Country Music by Berthof, all in 781. Love that title!
Let me finish up with non-fiction. A good starting place is Horses by Nelson, a first step non-fiction book, for our earliest readers. We also have Working Horses by Kummer, Horses in American History by Graubart, and Horse Care by Trueit. These are found in the 636’s. On the biography shelves the popular series “Who was?” features Annie Oakley by Spinner. Several others volumes about this sharp shooter are Annie Oakley the Woman Who Never Missed a Shot retold by Katherine Rose which is part of a series titled American Legends and Folktales. Shooting for the Moon, the Amazing Life and Times of Annie Oakley by Stephen Krensky is a beautifully illustrated picture book with water colors. Outlaws and Lawmen of the Wild West present Wild Bill Hickok authored by Carl Green.
Hope you and your family will enjoy reading tales of the Old West, learning some history, and plan to visit the festival in Old Town Newhall the weekend of April 19th. Saddle up!
Miss Lee, Children’s Associate, Canyon Country Library