Drywater Gulch has a toad problem. Not the hop-down-your-britches, croaking-all-night toad kind of problem. The thievin', hootin' and hollerin', steal-your-gold never-say-thank-you outlaw toad kind of problem.
Then hope rides into town. Sheriff Ryan might only be seven years old, and he might not know much about shooting and roping. But he knows a lot about dinosaurs. Yes, dinosaurs. And it turns out that knowing a thing or two about paleontology can come in handy when it comes to hoodwinking and rounding up a few no-good bandits. From Bob Shea and Lane Smith comes this hilarious picture book, Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads.
This title has Common Core connections.
Shea and Smith, the duo behind Big Plans, deliver a western yarn that's long on cowboy slang and longer on screwball comedy. Mayor McMuffin of Drywater Gulch cannot abide the "hootin', hollerin', and cattle kissin' " Toad brothers, who are wreaking havoc in the arid one-horse town. At last, a boy in a 10-gallon hat rides "into town. Slowly. On a tortoise. Give him a minute." He claims to be qualified as sheriff, due to his expertise on dinosaurs, and he stubbornly attributes the Toad brothers' robberies and unusual treatment of cattle to velociraptors and tyrannosaurs. Kid Sheriff insists on reserving the jail for the likes of T. rex, absurd logic prevails, and the menacing Toads get their just deserts. Smith pictures sepia-tinted heroes and villains, and sets the action against an apt backdrop of cracked earth, speckled mesas, and spiky sagebrush. Shea maintains a deadpan drawl that mirrors the straightforward visuals. If children are more likely to know dinosaurs than B-movie chestnuts like "Gabby the town prospector," adults can meet them halfway in this punchy read-aloud. Ages 4 8.