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In the Days of the Vaqueros: America's First True Cowboys

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  33 ratings  ·  13 reviews
In this rousing account of the first true cowboys, Newbery Medalist Russell Freedman brings to life the days when the vaqueros rounded up cattle, brought down steers, and tamed wild broncos. In the service of wealthy Spanish conquistadors in the sixteenth century, Mexican ranch hands began herd- ing cattle, often riding barefoot. They soon developed and perfected the skill ...more
Hardcover, 70 pages
Published October 15th 2001 by Clarion Books
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Jul 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
Arguably the twentieth century's most distinguished nonfiction author for kids, Russell Freedman wrote on topics ranging from world history to the natural sciences, but a subject he returned to repeatedly was the old American West. Children of the Wild West (1983), Indian Chiefs (1987), Buffalo Hunt (1988), and The Life and Death of Crazy Horse (1996) are a few of his titles in this vein, and In the Days of the Vaqueros: America's First True Cowboys (2001) was his final book to delve into that e ...more
Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
I always enjoy reading and learning from Russell Frredman. And I really like the illustrations/pictures!
Amanda Hamilton
Dec 08, 2007 rated it really liked it
Written for middle and high school readers, In the Days of the Vaqueros is an enchanting and informative book about the Native American men who raised cattle three hundred years before the time of American cowboys. Interesting and well-written text, coupled with frequent illustrations make this book great for readers with an interest in the subject matter.

Newberry winner Russell Freedman makes the history of vaqueros both interesting and unsettling by blending history, facts, and anecdotes with
I always enjoy Russell Freedman's books, and "In the Days of the Vaqueros: America's First True Cowboys" was no exception. Freedman gives clear and concise information in an interesting way. This book is slightly shorter than others I've read of his, but I still felt like the subject was well covered. Freedman mentions several times that the Mexican vaquero has not been romanticized like the American cowboy and thus not a lot has been written about him over the years. I also really enjoyed the m ...more
Brian Breese
Mar 08, 2013 added it
Shelves: edre-4870
What?: This book describes the Mexican vaquero (cowboy) and contrasts them to the American cowboy. The vaquero was never a culture hero in Mexico, so the vaquero was a marginal figure in Mexican literature and film. This book pays tribute to the vaquero and describes their life, recreation, and clothing. The book has sketches, along with colorful illustrations to provide documentation of their lifestyle. Included is a glossary of Spanish vaquero terms.

So What?: Students will be able to contrast
Aug 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-nonfiction
Like all of Russell Freedman's books, this one was packed with interesting tidbits. Here is a sampling:

*The first cowboys were Indians in Mexico (back when it was Spanish territory)
*Mexican Cowboys or vaqueros were never considered romantic figures like in the U.S. They were just poor labor hands.
*The first vaqueros never rode mares just stallions. Talk about Macho.
*When California was part of Mexico, vaqueros used to capture grizzlies to fight bulls in arenas at the Missions. Crazy!
*Even thoug
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Stacy Nyikos
May 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read Freedman’s book to understand a little better the men who were brought to Hawaii to teach the Hawaiian cowboys how to herd and round up cattle. The book is far too long to serve as an instructional format for the type of book I want to write, and reads vey much like a textbook or history book; however with far better illustrations and pictures than any of the history books I had ever encountered as a child.
Mary Sanchez
Thank you, Russell Freedman, for validating the vaqueros, America's first cowboys, and introducing them to readers through this well researched book.The Hispanic looking font, corridos (narrative poems), illustrations, and famous paintings add to the authenticity of the subject.
Apr 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Who would have known that the original cowboys were native Mexicans? This is an easy read that briefly describes the over 500 year history of the Vaqueros. The copies of the paintings are lovely. It took about an hour or so to read and was a pleasure.
May 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
cool history of cowboys!
Oct 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read this book for a cultural diversity class and though it was great! I hope to use it in my own classes in the future.
Sep 16, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty solid. Russell Freedman is like a Frank McLynn for kids. He's a bit of a factory, but he writes about everything I love.
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Russell A. Freedman was an American biographer and the author of nearly 50 books for young people. He may be known best for winning the 1988 Newbery Medal with his work Lincoln: A Photobiography.

He grew up in San Francisco and attended the University of California, Berkeley, and then worked as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press and as a publicity writer. His nonfiction books ranged in

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