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Black Cowboy, Wild Horses by Julius Lester

Black Cowboy, Wild Horses

by Julius Lester

Other authors: Jerry Pinkney (Illustrator)

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Based off the true life of Bob Lemmons who was famous for his ability to track wild horses. He rides his horse, Warrior, picks up the trail of mustangs, Bob then approaches the herd of horses, and tries to make himself look only like a horse by laying down and trying to mask his smell. Bob runs with the wild horses day and night until they accept his presence. Bob and Warrior then challenge the stallion for leadership of the wild herd. Bob leads the mustangs across the wide plains and for one last spectacular run before guiding them into the corral. Bob's job is done, but he dreams of galloping with Warrior forever to where the sky and land meet.
I thought this was a great story depicting how wild the west was at that time. The illustrations were amazing, I think that this book could be used to help students to illustrate their own wild west. How did the West look when there weren't all the buildings here? What animals were grazing the plains?
I also think that it could be used for teaching stereotypes. A Black cowboy is not popular thinking when you discuss cowboys. I think this would be a great lesson for kids to think of other stereotypes that are not true. Critical thinking: why do these stereo types still exist?
  KButterfield | Dec 7, 2016 |
'Black Cowboy Wild Horses' is written by Julius Lester and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. This is a true story about a former black slave who became a cowboy named Bob Simmons. The book shows how the cowboy was one of the best of the best at tracking herds of horses, having them accept him and his horse, Warrior, and take over them as leader. Lester and Jerry have us go on one of these journeys, tracking down a herd. They show us how he tracks a herd down, how long he will follow them, and what he will do to have them see him as one of them. That is how Bob Simmons sees himself out in the frontier as well; as one of the horses who love to move so fast the sky and earth blur past his eyes. ( )
  Jtreed | Apr 18, 2016 |
Black Cowboys Wild Horses: A True Story by Julius Lester and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney is the true story of Bob Lemmons a black cowboy. According to the biography in the back of the book Black Cowboys Wild Horses is one of three books written by Lester on the role of men of color in the West. I am very excited to read this book to my students as we continual our Social Studies thematic unit on the United States. In preparation, I read Black Cowboys Wild Horses to my sons, who, although are seventeen and nineteen, found the story of Lemmons interesting and informational. They especially appreciated the additional information in the back of the book, which inspired them to find out more about cowboys of color. While reading the book, I found the illustrations captivating and strong and the author’s word choice and story writing was outstanding. I plan to check out the other books written by Lester, and read all three to my class and then compare and contrast them after whole group discussion. ( )
  penny.johnsonward | Feb 18, 2013 |
At first I didn't like the illustrations, but after looking at them more, I noticed there were a lot of really interesting details (cicadas that almost blended into the grass, horse shapes in the clouds) and cool textures in the paintings (wavy watercolor tree bark that was almost reminiscent of art deco-ish wallpaper, texture of the dappled horses)

However, the writing is cliched and sentimental:
"Maybe someday they would ride with the mustangs, ride to that forever place where the land and sky kissed."

I did like that it focused on a black cowboy. It's a common misconception in historical fiction that black people or other people of color weren't around, especially in westerns (where if people of color are portrayed, they are often portrayed in stereotypical or racist ways, esp. in older cowboy books with "Indians" in them)

One thing I noticed was that the cowboy got the wild mustangs to trust him and then rounded them up and sold them at the market. This is really what cowboys did but it seems kind of messed up to me. A lot of children's books do talk about freedom of animals and "caged birds" etc., and this book didn't get into that at all really. Maybe because it doesn't, it would be good to put in with a collection about capturing animals where the animals were unhappy about being captured, and then students would be able to identify this different portrayal of it and realize what is going on in this book with that frame of mind.
  robinlbrooks | Sep 19, 2012 |
This is the true story of the black cowboy Bob Lemmons who could tame any wild horse. This book goes through one of the times he rounded up wild horses.
  setonhansen | Apr 1, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Julius Lesterprimary authorall editionscalculated
Pinkney, JerryIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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A black cowboy is so in tune with wild mustangs that they accept him into the herd, thus enabling him singlehandedly to take them to the corral.

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