Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Black Cowboys

Black Cowboys
text by Kyla Ryman
photographs by Andrea Robbins and Max Becher

Photo books can be tricky, especially photo board books meant for the very young. To correlate the text with the image, and remove any ambiguity so the young mind can make the appropriate connections is not an easy job. Typically, photographs focus on one thing at a time and the text artfully highlights that same thing, drawing the reader's attention to that particular aspect without distractions. Not all books manage to do it well, sadly.

Black Cowboys is a photo board book that digs into American history to bring an almost-forgotten culture. The book has engaging photos of black cowboys and cowgirls doing what cowboys and cowgirls do. About a third of cowboys in the Wild West were black but are not featured prominently in books, movies, and television even though the culture is still thriving today.

The first page shows a photo of two black cowboys in the foreground wearing identical red shirts and cowboy hats and jeans. Background includes another cowboy and cowgirl on a wagon, plus another non-black cowboy in the very back of the wagon. The caption reads "Circle 44 Riding Club, Bruno's Arena, Houston, Texas." The accompanying text on a stark white background simply states, "These cowboys are wearing red shirts."

We go on to see cowboys laughing, cowgirls wearing black shirts, a cowboy on a bull and a cowboy off a bull so on. The photo accompanying the text, "This cowboy is off the bull" was a bit fierce as it shows an irate bull almost stomping down a fallen cowboy. All part of the Rodeo game, as we adults know. And it perhaps serves as an entry point for discussion with the children about rodeo culture. But, as a board book for toddlers, the book has very little to offer.

Although sturdy board books are traditionally for the very young, Black Cowboys can appeal to older children as a way to explore the culture and promote further thought and discussion.

[View inside pages at Home Grown Books]

[Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book but the opinions expressed here are my own]

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older