Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Dirty Cowboy” as Want to Read:
The Dirty Cowboy
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Dirty Cowboy

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  267 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
This ol' boy needs a bath!

After he finds a tumbleweed in his chaps and the numerous bugs buzzing around him affect his hearing, the cowboy decides it's time to head to the river. Once there, he peels off all his clothes and tells his trusty old dog to guard them against strangers. He takes a refreshing bath and emerges clean as corn – but so fresh-smelling that his dog doe
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published August 8th 2003 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Dirty Cowboy, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Dirty Cowboy

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 437)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Apr 04, 2013 Margaret rated it it was amazing
4/3/13 ** I requested this book from the library because I'd seen it on a "most challenged" list. Apparently, some have trouble with the nudity - of course, the premise is that the cowboy can't get his clothes back from his dog after he took a bath. The illustrations are very clever, with key body parts covered by the dog's tail, ears, dust whirlwinds, etc.

What really drew me to the book though is the prose. Amy Timberlake must have worked many hours on choosing just the right words. This would
Feb 10, 2015 Beth rated it it was amazing
Originally reviewed here

When bugs start setting up camp in and around his body, a cowboy hitches up his horse and rides down to the river with his dog who is instructed to watch the cowboy's clothes while he bathes. But problems arise when the dog, no longer finding his owner's scent familiar, doesn't allow the cowboy his clothes back.

The writing is full of humor and lush sensory details and the illustrations are hilarious, beautiful, and endearing at the same time.

Which is why it angers me so
May 02, 2012 Kwoomac rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrens, 2012
Apparently, some mother tried to get this book banned because the dirty cowboy gets naked to take a bath. At no time can you see anything ban-inducing. The cowboy is always covered up by a judiciously placed bunny, frog, dog's tail or other item. I think kids will get a kick out of this slightly naughty book without being exposed to any of the naughty bits. Only two stars because the illustrations just didn't do it for me. I want my cowboys to look like Clint Eastwood, not Howdy Doody.
Aug 18, 2008 Lioness added it
Shelves: children-s
This is a clever idea perfectly married to excellent illustrations. Half the fun is seeing how Adam Rex, the artist, hides various bits of the cowboy's anatomy, first as he goes for a bath, and later as he wrestles his dog for his clothes. It's a hoot.
Dec 04, 2011 Matthew rated it really liked it
I really liked this mostly because it was so well illustrated. I loved the expressiveness of the characters and the story was silly fun like the old Steven Kellogg tall tales. I really liked this all the way through.
Jul 10, 2010 Eloise rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
A very funny book about a cowboy who takes a much-needed bath and instructs his dog not to allow anyone, under any circumstances, to take his clothes. The illustrations are delightfully naughty.
Kate Hannigan
May 16, 2009 Kate Hannigan rated it it was amazing
One of my kids' all-time favorites. Great story about a cowboy and his dog and the annual ritual of bathing. Hilarious illustrations add to the fun. But Timberlake's story is a hoot!
Stephanie Smoot
Apr 22, 2010 Stephanie Smoot rated it it was amazing
I used this book in a text set about cowboys. A cute story about how a cowboy’s dog becomes confused after the cowboy takes his yearly bath.
Melissa W
Mar 29, 2014 Melissa W rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-books, 2012
Originally reviewed at Jayne's Books.

I read this book due to some news that this book had been removed from district's two elementary schools in The Annville-Cleona School District in Pennsylvania. And honestly, I didn't see anything wrong with it. Since its a children's book, everything that needs to be covered up is covered up. While it didn't blow my mind away, it was a wonderful story about a cowboy who got dirty and when he noticed his own stench, he decided to take a bath.

Honestly, I don't
Mar 16, 2013 Rachel rated it it was amazing
This was another book I picked up because I love Adam Rex's illustrations. Thankfully the story and illustrations in this book were awesome. It is so much fun to do in a southern accent (not saying all cowboys are from the South, but it works in this case). The book is about a cowboy that lives on his own with a horse and dog (really a wolf). He decides one day to take a bath. It's the detailed drawing that kill me in the book, from the "cowboy's hair housing thirty-two fleas and a small gray sp ...more
Cesally Shermam
Oct 28, 2014 Cesally Shermam rated it really liked it
This picture book is about a dirty cowboy and his dog. Once the cowboy decides that he can no longer stand his filth, he heads down to the river to take a bath, (and even though he asked his dog to guard his clothes beforehand) the dog does not recognize his master when he gets out and the cowboy has to go through a wrestling match to try and get his clothes back. I gave the book a four out of five, because although the book is very funny and cute, (although everything is covered) I think that i ...more
Amy Adams
Aug 26, 2014 Amy Adams rated it it was amazing
This was a fun tall tale. With a stinky, dirty, smelly, grubby, dingy cowboy and a loyal, protective, vigilant but blind dog, you've got a combination for one very funny book. This book has been challenged/banned because of its depiction of near-nudity, but I think it's tastefully and humorously done. There are lots of fun words and great sounds. The text interacts with the illustrations, making the whole book something you just want to keep looking at. The details in the illustrations are great ...more
Jun 04, 2012 Amy rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrens, reviewed
I liked this book; I thought it was cute, and funny, and clever. The target audience, however, did not. My niece couldn't figure out why a person would fail to bathe in a year's time, and my nephew was bored and just whined through the whole book. I really expected the kids to at least giggle, but that just never happened.

The pictures in this one were nicely done--I especially enjoyed the colors and found it very evocative of the Southwest. *I* think this is more than a two-star book, but when
Sep 22, 2007 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children, lol
I LOVE Adam Rex Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich. His illustrations are perfect for this fun story about a cowboy I can completely identify with.
The Brothers
As a resident of the state this story takes place in (NM) I just have to make mention of one little thing. Saguaro cactus do NOT grow in New Mexico. They ONLY grow in the Sonora Desert which is in parts of Arizona and Mexico.

Anyway, this is the story of a filthy cowboy who decides he needs a bath. Once he gets to the river and disrobes, he commands his faithful dog to guard his clothing until he is done. But after the bath, the cowboys doesn't smell as he did before and the dog doesn't think he
May 08, 2012 Zack rated it really liked it
A bit long for storytime or real young ones, but still plenty of read aloud fun here and wonderful illustrations.
Joe Gardner
Apr 24, 2010 Joe Gardner rated it really liked it
cute story about taking a bath, interesting illlustrations hiding the naked cowboy.
Jul 02, 2008 Marianne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Just funny and the illustrations are perfect for this tale.
Jun 14, 2009 Mary rated it it was amazing
Fun, and great, funny illustrations!
Sep 26, 2015 Josiah rated it did not like it
A cowboy alone out on the range, chasing down renegade longhorn cattle every day on his trusty mount, can get mighty dirty. Especially when he has no wife or family to regularly clean himself up for, operating in a solitary way on the wide open frontier, having only a dog to keep him company. What dog cares if its master has an odious odor? But one day, the cowboy in this story decides it's high time he made the long trip to the river to give himself a good scrubbing. The flies buzzing noisily ...more
Funny, clever...laugh-out-loud. A perfect blend of picture and words. Both enhance the other. On the surface, a cowboy takes his annual bath in the river and has to wrestle his dog for his clothes. But, under the surface is some tasty writing ("A flurry of flies flocked round his body buzzing so persistently that he experienced a distinct loss of hearing in his left ear...where was that sweaty, wild-boar-like smell that clung to the cowboy like a second pair of clothes...if a cowboy didn't smell ...more
Challenged as "pornographic": a word the challengers apparently don't know the meaning of. Although the cowboy is nude for most of the story, Rex has artfully and amusingly managed to hide his genitalia and even his butt crack in every picture. There may have been man nipples, though. I'm not sure.


There's a cowboy in New Mexico who sets out to take his annual bath in the river. Trouble ensues, comically. The text seems slightly off: it's got a good voice to the tale, but it seems to broken up
Esmeralda Gregg
I think the story was cute and shows how a simple addition to a group can change the dynamic of attitude of those within it. I did not particularly care the illustrations. They seemed a little intense for a picture book. I do believe that boys would love this book because of the illustrations due to the nose picking weird looking cowboys.

Barb Middleton
Apr 18, 2013 Barb Middleton rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-book
Howdy folks. If cowboy lingo is your specialty then have fun with thisin' here book. If it sours your milk then you might wanna skip it, but be warned of the illustrations! Luckily I flipped through the pages before reading this to first graders because they would not be able to handle the pictures (or I would not be able to handle them - depends how you look at it) as a read aloud. Basically the cowboy takes a bath and the dog he asks to guard his clothes won't give them back after he's clean. ...more
Feb 16, 2015 Morgan rated it it was amazing
I chose this book because of the title. I am very into the country lifestyle and thought I would enjoy a book about a cowboy. I was right. This book was a very entertaining story about a cowboy needing a shower and going on a trip to the river with his horse and his dog. I think this would be a great book for kids because it is entertaining, and has great illustrations that follow the storyline.
May 11, 2012 Sonic rated it liked it
This was a fun and well-illustrated children's book.
I felt encouraged to read it and curious about it when I read somewhere that this book was BANNED in certain places here in America (Pennsylvania?)

WTF??? Is WRONG with people???

Seriously the whole Christian SHAME for one's naked body thing is completely WHACK!

If SHAME of your own body is one of the values that you take away from Christianity then you are letting the Wrong people interpret it for you!

(Here I am revealing my Own biases and assump
May 10, 2012 Bradley rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
You'll see that I rarely read children's books. I don't have any children of my own so there's no need. The few I have read were read because the book was written by an adult writer I admire or it has some sort of LGBT slant.

I wanted to read this book because it was banned by the Annville-Cleona school board located in Pennsylvania. I'm amazed at what gets people all riled up, riled up enough to ban this award winning book.

The book is about a cowboy that is in need of a bath. He takes a bath bu
Jan 11, 2013 Jim rated it really liked it
Well, I guess I read a banned book to my son tonight.

Yup, this book has been banned.

There's an article here.

A news story here.

And an interview with the author here.

I thought it was a cute story...with great art by Adam Rex.

Banned? Good grief. Everyone should take a bath at least once a year...whether they need it or not.
Aug 12, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
This is a funny story that would make an excellent read aloud. Students will love the illustrations of this nearly naked cowboy as he bathes and fights his dog to get his clothing back.
Josianne Fitzgerald
Tall tale about a dirty cowboy who gets so clean his dog doesn't recognize him. Illustrations include lots of images of the cowboy's naked bit cleverly concealed by details in the setting.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 14 15 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Seed by Seed: The Legend and Legacy of John "Appleseed" Chapman
  • Pish, Posh, Said Hieronymus Bosch
  • Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope
  • Long Night Moon
  • Palazzo Inverso
  • Bawk & Roll
  • Ted
  • Marcel the Shell with Shoes On: Things About Me
  • How to Potty Train Your Monster
  • Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich
  • The Moon Over Star
  • Don't Squish the Sasquatch!
  • Naamah and the Ark at Night
  • A Leaf Can Be...
  • When a Dragon Moves In
  • My Uncle Emily
  • Lightship
  • Carmine: A Little More Red
Amy Timberlake's newest book, One Came Home, has been called "a True Grit for the middle school set" (Bookpage), "a valentine to sisterhood and a bird that no longer exists" (The Washington Post), and "a rare gem of a novel" (The Christian Science Monitor). It's also a 2013 Junior Library Guild pick, and it's been awarded starred reviews by Kirkus, The Horn Book, School Library Journal and The Bul ...more
More about Amy Timberlake...

Share This Book