How to Get Rich on a Texas Cattle Drive
In Which I Tell the Honest Truth About Rampaging Rustlers, Stampeding Steers, & Other Fateful Hazards on the Wild Chisholm Trail
Exaltation, Extolment, and Other Forms of High Esteem
• Best Children’s Books, 2011, Bank Street College of Education
“Hot on the heels of How to Get Rich on the Oregon Trail (National Geographic, 2009), Texas Cattle Drive is the firsthand account of fictional A.J. “Little John” Larken’s year as a wrangler on the Texas Range in the late 1800s. With tongue-in-cheek humor, an editor’s note at the outset purports that the “manuscript” was rescued from the lining of a pet prairie dog cage and further issues a disclaimer for any fun sustained while reading the “tremendously educational” pages that follow. Larken’s observations and adventures include working for a not entirely honest ranch manager, interacting with ornery settlers in sod houses, and witnessing the Cheyenne Exodus. Ultimately, at the end of his drive and with the coming of the railroad and the fencing of the land, Little John joins up with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. Everyone is out to make a buck in this rough and tumble environment, Larken being no exception, and he records his income and expenses on an antique-looking ledger on various pages. A list of further reading and online resources are accompanied by a two-page “Encyclopedia of the Texas Cattle Drive” that defines historical figures and unusual words used within the text. Richly illustrated with a mix of historically authentic lithographs and “Little John Larkens’s” illustrations, this book is a colorful and entertaining introduction to the period.
—Madeline J. Bryant, School Library Journal
“Young readers will greatly enjoy this entertaining and informative book, and may be surprised by the history they learn along the wa. This book is highly recommended for public, elementary, and middle school libraries.”
–Ellen Simmons, The Heart of Texas Children’s Literature Review Center