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Rough, Tough Charley

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  77 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
Charley was rough.
Charley was tough.
Charley wore fancy blue gloves.

Charley Parkhurst always was more comfortable around horses than around humans. One of the most respected stagecoach drivers in the old West, Charley also kept one of the biggest secrets anyone could keep.

Now, through thrilling paintings and Verla Kay’s signature cryptic rhyme, readers are invited to expl
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Tricycle Press
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(showing 1-30)
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Jenni Frencham
Loved the story. Loved the illustrations. Some of the poetry was a bit stilted, though, so I might have enjoyed it better if it hadn't been written in verse. Still, a great gender-bending picture book.
Mary Louise Sanchez
This narrative poem tells the story of Charley Parkhust who ran away from an orphanage, doctored horses, and ended up in California in the 1850s working as a stage coach driver until retirement. At Charley's death, the doctor discovers Charlie is a woman. But in the meantime, Charley did a man's job and even voted before women got the right to vote in Wyoming.

An extraordinary and little known historical character. Loved the timeline at the end of the biography.

A good chance for a reader to get i
Nov 06, 2009 Connie rated it really liked it
One-Eyed Charley. Not really somebody you see a lot of biographies about, especially for kids. For some reason we can't tell, Charley was a girl who decided to live her life as a man - and did. Popular and successful by most measurements, too, and that was a secret that stayed well hidden, nobody knew until Charley died.

This picture book is fast-paced, a good clean rhythm and rhyme scheme, very tight story... and it has a detailed afterword (with a map) for those of us who didn't catch all the i
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tim Snell
Oct 02, 2009 Tim Snell rated it liked it
Genre: Historical Fiction/Biography
Copyright: 2007

Charley Darkey is rough and tough and always gets the job done. Charley Darkey is the fastest, safest stagecoach driver in all the land, whose passengers always arrive on time, and none were ever injured. Charley Darkey, who got kicked in the eye was as tough as they come, but Charley has a secret that nobody but Charley knows.

This book was written in a rhyming verse style and the illustrations were great. There is a little bit of dialect in the
Katie Fleming
Sep 25, 2013 Katie Fleming rated it it was ok
Shelves: ch-02-ncss
"Rough, Tough Charley," by Verla Kay is a story about Charley who votes and is strong but then we find out Charley was actually a women in disguise. I liked the story of this book but I did not like how it was presented. For example, the grammar is poor. I would not want young children who are learning their grammar rules to read incorrect grammar in a book. Also, I thought some of the elements were a little too heavy and bluntly said for little kids. Talking about death and just saying "bury hi ...more
Mar 25, 2013 Sarah rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jessica Anthony
Oct 11, 2013 Jessica Anthony rated it liked it
Shelves: ch-02-ncss
This book is great for any child learning to rhyme and learn a little history all in one. In this book we learn about the rough tough Charley who is a carriage driver. We learn about all the crazy stories that Charley has been through while being the horse driver. The surprise at the end of the story however, is that Charley is actually a girl! she has been pretending this entire time to be a man so that she could have a more active filled life style. A great read for any little one who needs a ...more
Feb 24, 2009 Leigh rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This has got to be one of the weirdest books I've ever read. It's the true story of Charley, a women who disguised as a man, drove a stagecoach out West for many years. She was not detected until after her death. Basically, the book is a plea to understand that women can do anything men can. The rhyming style and bluntly told story make it a compelling read. But you have to wonder if Charley was an eccentric, desperate to earn a decent wage, or just a weirdo. This is the sort of picture book tha ...more
Kayla Quinn
Oct 17, 2013 Kayla Quinn rated it really liked it
Rough Tough Charley teaches children that no matter what gender you are, you can do a tough job. This book can be read at the ages of 7 and 8. The pictures in the book were very well drawn. This can also teach children that back then, women were not thought of has "hard workers. Charley was actually a girl is disguise because she wanted to prove that women are just as good as men.
This was a very short form of poetry that told the story of a woman who posed as a man and drove wagon trains in the days of the wild west. It was an interesting story, though a few more syllables in a couple of the lines would have been appreciated. But what do I know? I've never been much for some forms of poetry.
Dec 03, 2007 Ronster rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Grades K-3
Children's picture book biography and rhyming poem. This book tells the fascinating life of Charley Parkhurst. She ran from an orphanage at a young age and lived her life as a man so she could do the work she loved and so she had more rights as a citizen. Facts are included in the lst few pages of the book. Use in units about the Old West, women's rights, and Charley Parkhurst.
Mandi Murphy
Jul 13, 2011 Mandi Murphy rated it really liked it
I'd never heard of Charles Parkhurst before. This was a very interesting history lesson, though I give it four stars more for the introduction into something new and the timeline at the end than for the story itself. I guess I don't care for the poetic style it was written in.
Alyssa Casto
Oct 14, 2013 Alyssa Casto marked it as to-read
Shelves: ch-2-ncss
This book had great pictures and was filled with thrill and adventure throughout the whole book. Charley the main character wasn't really a people person but loved being around his horses pulling his stagecoach.
Aug 01, 2007 Molly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Picture Book, Grades 2+, Cowboys
Shelves: picture-book
I loved this story of Charley a hard working cowboy who is one of the best drivers of the stage coaches. The book has a fabulous ending and is a great book for anyone teaching womens rights or the old west.
Robert Farmer
Nov 19, 2013 Robert Farmer rated it liked it
Shelves: ncss
This is a compelling book to read but still very weird in a way as a girl is dressed as a man. The point of it is to show that there are no boundaries between what a girl and guy can do, but i think this would be a little odd to children.
Lauren Birch
Oct 12, 2013 Lauren Birch rated it it was ok
Shelves: ch-02-ncss
A tough man sets out and becomes the toughest house carrier through out the west but once charley is on his death bed, a surprising shocking truth is discovered.
Dec 12, 2013 Cassie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: trans-youth
This book has everything I look for in a book, a great character, a little history lesson, and poetry!
Kaitlyn Horvath
Oct 29, 2013 Kaitlyn Horvath rated it it was ok
Shelves: ch-02-ncss
I didn't really like this book. I thought it was kind of hard to follow and I think kids would become bored with this book.
Feb 22, 2015 Jaycen rated it really liked it
Shelves: jj-nonfiction
This book had a completely surprise ending for us. We never expected Charley to be a woman. It led to some good discussion about gender discrimination in the past.
Aug 20, 2008 Marianne rated it really liked it
Shelves: jr-non-fiction
Excellent biography for young readers. Charley was a very interesting and colorful pony express "person."
Mar 31, 2013 Ladonna rated it it was amazing
This book has a wonderful ending. Charlie ends up being a girl. There are facts in the back of the book about her real life.
Janine Weston
Rough, Tough Charley by Verla Kay (2nd-NF) Fall Booklegger Program
Ashley rated it it was amazing
Jan 07, 2010
Ben Urlich
Ben Urlich rated it it was amazing
May 06, 2015
Alfred Joust
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Jun 09, 2016
Jim rated it liked it
Oct 04, 2012
Farrah Noorhassan
Farrah Noorhassan rated it really liked it
Feb 23, 2012
Michelle rated it it was amazing
Dec 08, 2016
Bookerkc rated it it was amazing
Mar 14, 2011
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