Haynes keeps the action zipping along with his boys, who adopt the cowboy lifestyle as much as their parents will allow. He plays with expectations; readers convinced that the adventures are all in the boys’ imaginations will reconsider after Burp finds a real scorpion in his boot. Gilpin’s lively line drawings add plenty of character to the book…Active and entertaining, with a mid-20th-century feel.
Lively illustrations help highlight the action of each chapter. Recommended as an additional purchase for libraries looking to increase their early chapter book collections and for those with a particular interest in cowboy stories.
—School Library Journal
Hayne’s episodic chapters gallop along as the intrepid amateur cowpokes explore the desert, find a (sort of) haunted skull, and rescue a dog they’re sure is part coyote. Gilpin’s cartoonish line drawings help bring the Wild West antics (many of which are imaginary) to life. Lasso-swinging, spur-wearing wannabe kiddie cowboys will be tickled.
Antagonistic older sisters, a blood-spitting lizard, and a legendary “Ghost Cat” all factor in to the boys’ adventures, which both Haynes and Gilpin paint as larger-than-life, even if real life occasionally intrudes (“Two lousy days in lockup,” is Slingshot’s response to getting grounded). It’s a boisterous tale that speaks to long summer days of (mostly) unfettered freedom.