Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sam's Wild West Christmas

This children's book, written by Nancy Antle and illustrated by S.D. Schindler, was published in 2000 by Dial Books for Young Readers. At forty pages, Sam's Wild West Christmas is a quick read. The ISBN is 0-8037-2199-4.

The plot is simple, which is appropriate for a book aimed at children in first and second grade. Sam and Rodeo Rosie, who first appeared in Sam's Wild West Show, by the same author, are travelling home when they come upon a train that has been robbed by outlaws. They track the outlaws to an isolated cabin where they are holding a large man in a red suit hostage, while the rest of the entertainers put on a show for the train crew and passengers. Sam and Rodeo Rosie use their rodeo skills to capture the outlaws, free the man in red and his strange-looking "horses," and rescue the passengers' presents that the outlaws had stolen. They return to the train and everyone is happy.

Although the plot deals with two train robbers, these outlaws are nothing like Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry. There is lots of action in the story; the text is full of Christmas allusions both obvious and subtle; there are some fun anachronistic touches; and amusing watercolor drawings. Anyone looking for a Christmas story with an Old West flavor may find Sam's Wild West Christmas just the book to read.

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