In Every Cowgirl Needs a Horse, Nellie Sue does everything with a western flair. Whether it is cleaning up the animal sty (picking up her stuffed animals) or rounding up cattle (getting the neighborhood kids together for her birthday party), she does it like a true cowgirl. All she really needs is a horse. So when Dad announces at her birthday party, “I got a horse right here for you,” Nellie Sue is excited. But when her horse turns out to be her first bicycle, it will take an imagination as big as Texas to help save the day.
Activities for Every Cowgirl Needs a Horse by Rebecca Janni
It's her birthday and Nellie Sue is hoping for a horse. Her parents have gotten enough hints: she wears cowgirl duds from head to toe, uses words like moseyed, drops her g's (as in Yee-haw! We've got herdin' to do! ), and has elaborate plans for converting the family home into a barn and paddock. Instead, Nellie Sue gets a bicycle: All eyes were on me, and I felt like I swallowed a hay bale. Debut author Janni and Avril (Amelia Bedelia's First Day of School) clearly appreciate their heroine's fantasies, but don't always succeed in getting inside her head. Avril's pink-hued watercolor cartoons have a birthday-card geniality, giving little sense of either an internal drama or a romantic vision of life on the range. The extent to which Nellie Sue takes the bike-as-horse fantasy makes for some overly precious lines ( I walked over to her with my palm out flat so she could get a good sniff, she says, approaching the bike), but readers should identify with her longing, as well as her powerful sense of imagination. Ages 3 5.