“Rowdy Ringo & the Cowboys”
Written by Marisa Betts and illustrated by Abra Shirley
Available on Amazon.com
Orphaned calves are a natural by-product of running a cow-calf operation and those calves hold a special place in author Marisa Betts’s heart.
In the third installment of her Cow Tales series of children’s books, Betts brings back her original character Rowdy Ringo, who was the subject of a High Plains Journal cover story earlier this year, see bit.ly/46AsPIz. Through her lifelong involvement in 4-H and living and working on her family’s farm in the Smoky Hills of Kansas, Betts knows the ins and outs of raising orphaned calves and has crafted a heart-warming story that will appeal to even those long-retired farm kids.
The twist to this story is that Ringo has added a few more head to his herd. Through the lively illustrations of Abra Shirley, another talented Kansan and freelance artist, readers meet the Cowboys—Curly, Ike, Festus, and Gus. Betts has created distinct personalities for each of the calves, fitting them together like pieces of a puzzle.
The Cowboys shenanigans are well described by Betts in poem form that will delight young readers and teach them words like brockle. Children’s books about farms and livestock aren’t required to be accurate but Betts uses her knowledge of how tasks are completed on a farm and Shirley uses her knowledge of how things look on a farm to tell a story that can be appreciated for its humor and its detail.
Along with Ringo’s two stories, Betts has also written and published “Goodnight Moo” as the second installment in the series. “Goodnight Moo” tells the sweet story of Betts’s daughter and her favorite bucket calf. To say Betts has been busy writing and publishing three books in a little over a year would be an understatement considering she also welcomed another human baby last spring. I’m not sure how many bucket calves her farm currently has running around but I’m sure they’re giving her more story ideas to share.
Jennifer Theurer can be reached at 620-227-1805 or [email protected].