Showing posts with label cowboys. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cowboys. Show all posts

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Picture Book: Rodeo Ron and His Milkshake Cows (by Rowen Clifford)

Riding atop a bright red cow, Rodeo Ron moseys into the town of Cavity.  Three more cows—yellow, blue, and green in color—follow behind.   Burping and running, the towns’ children gather round Rodeo Ron, wondering why his cows are unusual colors.   Ron explains that the red one only eats strawberries, the blue one eats blueberries, and the yellow one eats bananas.  The green one munches only grass and provides “cow juice” (milk).  The children have never had cow juice before.  They only consume sweet drinks at the soda shop of two brothers—Frothy and Fruity.  It shows…the townspeople’s teeth are dirty, brown stumps. 

The children lead Rodeo Ron to the soda shop where everybody is gathered.  Burping as they work, the brothers create a sugary treat for him.  He takes a big, long gulp and lets out the biggest burp of his life!   Ron points out that these sweet and frothy drinks are the cause of their bad teeth!   Frothy and Fruity challenge Rodeo Ron to a contest to see who can make the tastiest beverage.  The brothers “BURP! BURP! BURP!” as they create their best concoctions.  Each of Ron’s cows buck, bronk, shiver, and shake their way to the frothiest and fruitiest shakes in strawberry, blueberry, and banana.  Each time, he wins the taste test.  Finally, the green cow dances his way to the frothiest, creamiest, whitest milk.   The townspeople declare it “the finest drink ever!”  Now, the soda bar is replaced by a milk bar.   Instead of dirty, brown stumps, the townspeople now have bright, white smiles. 

Rowen Clifford wrote this imaginative story and created the vibrant pictures.  Rodeo Ron and His Milkshake Cows is set in the Old West, but the narrative incorporates the modern with the soda shop and the milkshakes.   It uses a common childhood fantastical element of different color cows being the origin of the various flavors of milk. (Who hasn’t jokingly said chocolate milk comes from brown cows?)  In an entertaining and subtle manner, the story teaches the importance of a wholesome diet, including healthy drinks like calcium-rich milk, while incorporating the incredible characteristics of tall tales.  I recommend Rodeo Ron and His Milkshake Cows for ages 4-10.   

Teaching Opportunities:
·         Choral Reading—The repetitive pattern during the competition is an amusing choral reading occasion.
·         Similes—Identify the similes in the narrative.  Discuss other stories with similies or complete additional activities with similes.  Create other similes for actions or descriptions in the story.
·         Alliteration—Identify examples of alliteration.  For younger children, connect the sounds to the corresponding letters. For older ones, create examples of alliterative phrases or study poems with alliteration. 
·         Health—Teach about oral hygiene and the importance of limiting sugary drink/food consumptions. 
·         Literature—Connect this narrative to a unit study of tall tales or discuss the characteristics of a tall tale and how they related to Rodeo Ron and His Milkshake Cows.  
·         Comparative Literature—Pick another tall tale from the library or book store.  Compare the two using a Venn Diagram or other chart.
·         Field Trip—Visit a local dairy farm (or find a video about one). 
·         Cooking—Create a milkshake concoction of your own!  Use a basic recipe for a milk shake and add ingredients of your choice—strawberries, bananas, mangos, and so forth. 
·         History/Social Studies—Add this story to a unit study on (or related to) cowboys. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Activities & Ideas: The Gingerbread Cowboy by Janet Squires

The Gingerbread CowboyThe Gingerbread Cowboy (ages 4-8) compliments The Cowboy & the Black-Eyed Pea book.  Both are based on well-known fairy tales and have a cowboy/Texas theme.  The setting is a ranch on a desert plain.  As a result, some of the animals who make their homes there, such as the horned lizard, roadrunner, javelina, and coyote, are highlighted. 
Also, The Gingerbread Cowboy has some good similes and alliteration.  Even at a young age, you can discuss figurative language with children.  Maybe they won’t “get it” until they are older, but it doesn’t hurt to begin introducing the concept.  Besides, you might have a child or some children who understand the concept early.  For a while now, my 9 year old has been able to identify figurative language such as puns and similes.  He also understands ironies and parody.  Don’t be discouraged if they don’t get it, but don’t hesitate to talk about it early either. 
Extension Activities
·         See The Cowboy & the Black-Eyed Pea blog.  Many of those ideas would work here as well.
·         Read other versions of this story, such as Jan Bret’s beautifully illustrated The Gingerbread Baby or Gingerbread Friends and Eric Kimmel’s classic version The Gingerbread Man.  Use a Venn Diagram to record the similarities and differences.
·         Make and decorate gingerbread cookies, a gingerbread house, or other gingerbread recipe.
·         Research the setting (desert) and some of the animals in that habitat.
·         Check out these other great activities!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Activities & Ideas: The Cowboy and the Black-Eyed Pea by Tony Johnston

The Cowboy and the Black-Eyed PeaMany, many years ago when I was a camp counselor, I had an especially benevolent boss.  Since I was not a resident of the area, he got a library card to give to me.   As a result, I checked out dozens of books so that each night I could read to my campers.   I checked The Cowboy and the Black-Eyed Pea (ages 4 and up) over and over.  Finally, I bought it, so I could read it each week.   Almost 20 years later, it is still in my personal library! 

I immensely enjoy this creative retelling of The Princess and the Pea.  It allowed me to practice my Texan accent, which I am certain a Texan would not recognize as such.  Since no one else was from Texas, it was my secret J!   (I was in New Jersey; they probably thought I had an accent to start with!)  Also, I love the colorful language that describes everything from the setting to the characters.  The first lines of the book are: “Out where the coyotes serenade the moon and sagebrush grays the land, there lived a woman of bodacious beauty. Her name was Farethee Well.”   Isn’t that amusing language!?   It also includes some entertaining similes and alliterations.  Next, I love stories with strong, capable women.  In this version, the cowboy has to prove himself to be both manly and sensitive to Farethee Well.   She weeds out the posers.   Finally, of course, there is a happy ending with Farethee Well finding her cowboy.  Together they ride out into the sunset side by side.  It brings a tear to my eye J.
Extension Activities: 
·         Of course, this story begs a comparison to the traditional The Princess and the Pea.   Use a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast the stories. 
·         Discuss which parts of the story are based on reality and which are fantasy.
·         As a class, a family, a small group, or individually create another version of this popular fairy tale.
·         Add The Cowboy and the Black-Eyed Pea to a fairy tale unit study.  
·         It would be a fun one to act out with actors or finger puppets.  I love talking in Farethee Well’s voice J!  
·         Create a poster to advertise the story.
·         Design a Wanted poster for Farethee Well.  If she were to advertise that she was in search of a “real” cowboy, what do you think she would look for?  Include those characteristics. 
·         Other connections are cowboys, Texas, ranches, and horses.  I found some good sites with loads of ideas to go along with these subjects.