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Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch
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Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  438 ratings  ·  112 reviews
When Widow Tulip Jones of Bore, England, inherits a ranch in By-Golly Gully, Texas, and moves in with two trunks of tea, twelve pet tortoises, and three servants, hilarity ensues. The peaceful life suits the wealthy widow fine until word gets out and every unmarried man in Texas lines up to marry her. Widow Tulip and her small staff of three can't possibly run the farm and ...more
Hardcover, 56 pages
Published February 11th 2014 by Schwartz & Wade (first published September 1st 2009)
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Average rating 3.73  · 
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 ·  438 ratings  ·  112 reviews

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Apr 28, 2014 rated it liked it
A fun, modern retelling of the part of Homer's Odyssey - where his wife has to trick a bunch of unwanted suitors into a series of impossible tasks in the hopes that she doesn't have to end up with any of them. In this version, an eccentric widow with a lot of money does the same with a band of unruly Texan suitors...
Stella Fowler
Mar 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
How can you not love a picture book with the line, "Those Arroyos are so mean, dynamite would hide from them"? You can't, plain and simple.

In the tradition of Pecos Bill and Paul Bunyan, Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch serves up American Storytelling on a tasty platter with blueberry scones and strawberry shortcake. The widow Jones is a marvelous character full of vim and vigor. It's no surprise when she moves to arid, desolate Texas and coaxes the land into growing humongous fruits and
Rebecca Honeycutt
A rollicking, visually charming tall tale. Since it's not meant to be realistic in the slightest, I'm not going to complain about the troubling emphasis on marriage in what is otherwise a rather empowering story about smart, determined women. And awesome giant tortoises.

Hawkes' artwork is the real selling point here: it's loaded with verve and saturated colors, and the big skies filled with puffy clouds add a wonderful sense of the wide open frontier. The boldness of the illustrations makes this
Jul 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading this to my five-year old. It was funny and smart. I knew the moment he was introduced who the widow Jones would choose to marry, but I still really enjoyed reading it and seeing the impossible tasks she thought up to get rid of the suitors (and their clever ways of fulfilling them). Even thought there's a little bit of a love story going on, it's not a "girly" book. My son really enjoyed it, too.
Alexa Marshall
1) Today, we're going to read a very fun book! (Open book to inside of the cover where there's a notice posted). This notice says "To those who read this tale, notice his hereby given: Under full penalty of law, exaggeration is forbidden in the state of Texas. No Texan may decorate a plain fact--except if that person is an elected official, or anyone who has ever ridden a horse. in such cases, all exaggeration must be restricted to the first twenty-four hours past sunrise." Can someone remind me ...more
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Made me laugh out loud, very cute and sweet and well illustrated. Seems like it might be a good read for a family learning about the Odyssey/greek mythology or even just literary allusion or influence as the trials of Tulip Jones, millionaire texan widow, seem to mirror those of Penelope.
Jan 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: kids
age: 2nd grade+
length: long
plot: convoluted (in a fun way)
Amy Forrester
Mar 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In 1870 the widow Tulip Jones inherits millions of dollars and a ranch. So she moves from England to By-Golly Gully. She quickly learns that everything is bigger in Texas, including her garden vegetables and her beloved pet tortoises. But her blissful peace is broken when word gets around about her rich and unmarried status. Hilarity ensues as the widow comes up with a variety of ways to get rid of the 1,000 suitors that line up at her door. Exaggeration is the name of the game from text to ...more
Sara Grochowski
MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE RANCH is straight out of Texas, where, under the full penalty of the law, exaggeration is forbidden to every person (unless that person is an elected official or anyone who has ever ridden a horse), so the reader can take sometimes unbelievable tale as fact. It's 1870 When Tulip Jones, a widow from Greater Bore, England, inherits a ranch in By-Golly Gully, Texas. She sets off to set up residence, armed with plenty of tea, twelve pet tortoises (named January, February, ...more
Feb 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book
This picture book is loosely based on a combination of Texas tall tales and motifs from several folktales. The illustrations are really outstanding, and the story itself would be a lot of fun for kids of kindergarten age or older.
Everything grows bigger in Texas, from vegetables to tortoises. So it was that wealthy young woman Tulip Jones ended up with a strange ranch and too many suitors.
From there the story gets remarkably silly, as she tries to weed out the extra suitors by various tests and
What a hoot!!! I absolutely loved this story. One of my coworkers recommended this book to me telling me that it was humorous. It made me giggle out loud! A very wealthy widow moves to a ranch in Texas. When the single men in Texas, and they were all single, found out how rich she was, they came courting. What ensues is fun!
Feb 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This is a picture book with longer text that can be enjoyed by school age kids who have a sense of humor. This would be a good title for my granddaughter who lives in Texas since that's where this tall tale is set and wonderfully illustrated.
Rachel Watkins
Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, picture-book
I love tall tales and this entertaining story of a British widow who inherits a Texas ranch is a doozy. This is for the older child, think ages five to nine. Kevin Hawkes's illustrations do justice to Anne Issacs's storytelling. This is a delightful read.
Mar 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Silly and funny and charming! You can see the end coming a mile away, but it is fun to read it play out anyhow.
Jun 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-my-kids
What a delightful, rollicking storybook! Full of adventure, Texas-sized imagination, and even a dash of romance, I plan to remember this one for my kids!
Amy Layton
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
My coworker and I saw this as we were working on redoing our children's literature section, and oh man...we had a good time with this one. It's such a riotous tall-tale (I mean, look at that cover--she's riding a turtle!) that ends with an incredibly sweet, though expected, resolution.

As Tulip Jones works her suitors with tricks and dares, Isaacs and Hawkes certainly make a point that if there's an attractive woman (with a lot of money), men will try to do just about anything--and certainly
Viviane Elbee
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This is a very funny, highly exaggerated tall tale, set in Texas. The artwork is great too.

I think it is slightly long text-wise so I would recommend it for older preschoolers and elementary students.

When we got to the end of this book, one of my kids pointed to the heroine and said, "she's so smart," in an admiring tone. So, this is a good book for a "smart heroine" themed read, although the book includes quite a bit of "marriage," complete with huge wedding cake, of course.
Whole And
A clever spoof-ish tale about a widowed ranch lady being pressured to marry! Quite clever she is, creating contests that should be impossible but prove not to be. And yet, she finds away around each smirk that wants her hand in marriage. Peace is once again restored on the ranch but the lady of the house finds herself suddenly lonely and realized to whom her heart really belongs...

Sweet and strong, a fun read all around.
Jennifer Heise
A modern-but-old-fashioned tall tale in which strong ladies get the better of greedy would-be suitors. (Some parents may dislike the traditional happy-ever-after ending where everyone -- except the really bad guys-- ends up married off-- but the eventual groom is pretty darn cool, and using a thousand wedding veils to... oh never mind.) There just aren't enough tall tales starring girls, let alone challenging the passive heroine stereotype.
Jun 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Opening Moves:
"These fruits and vegetables, and animals in this book are all magical somehow. They grow to an enormous size as you can see as I flip through the pages. So all of you will want to see how this happens."
-Engages attention
"What do you notice about the inside cover page and the outside page? The inside page looks like something is going on that is not good. There is horses racing and even a dead skull. The outside page is calm looking and peaceful. What do you think would have
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
4/5 stars
2/4th grade
Traditional fantasy
I thought this book had a lot of action. This would definitely keep the readers engaged. This book would be a great book to read aloud to a classroom as it has a lot going on but is still easy to understand! I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to be entertained throughout the entire story.
Myka Shetler
Dec 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens-lit-18
Genre: Fantasy
Grade Level: K-2
I enjoyed this book and how it incorporated immigration into such a fun and exciting book. Kids will love this book because there are larger than life exaggerations and how they do with their conflicts. It made me smile and sometimes laugh. I would recommend this book to any child who enjoys funny books and who likes to laugh.
Lynn  Davidson
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
A widow lady inherits 35 million dollars and a ranch in Texas. She moves there with three of her female servants who become ranch hands, so ... 1000 cowboys want to marry her. She hires a baker who provides comfort food - muffins, scones, breads - and meanwhile the lady is trying to figure out how to get rid of the cowboys. Funny story. Great illustrations.
Kelley Mitchell
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Cute - a little long for a read-aloud in a single library class. Would be a great way to review tall tales with older kids. It is a sort fracture of the trope of a marriage quest, and well done at that :). I giggled all the way through.
Alison Whiteman
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Hilarious use of language, but then came the lonely woman who can only not be lonely is she's married. This was disappointing to me as a single woman by choice.
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My boys and I loved this book. The illustrations are great, and the story is very entertaining. I’m so glad I happened upon this book by chance!
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
A funny romance. My kindergartener did not enjoy this as much as I did.
Stephanie Sutter
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: school
Personal Review:
This tall tale is a story about a wealthy widow, Tulip, who moves to Texas and starts a ranch. Everything on her ranch is true to Texas size, larger than life. When the word spreads about Tulip, thousands of money-hungry cowboy suitors show up to try to win her over. Tulip hires Charlie to help with the baking of the newly arrived suitors. Eventually, Tulip devises a plan to rid herself of cowboys. At first, her plan does not work, but then there is an unexpected twist in the
When English Widow Tulip Jones learns that she has inherited $35 million and a ranch in Texas, she takes her pet tortoises and her household staff and board a steam ship. Once she arrives in By-Golly Texas she sets to work, proving that she and her household can and will make the ranch successful in such a hostile environment.

It doesn't take to long for the 100's of single cowboys in the town to begin to court the wealthy widow. However Widow Jones wants nothing to do with them. To try to get
Keri Rohr
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch is a contemporary realistic fiction book for grades 3-5. I only gave this book a two star rating because while the ending was cute, the book flipped back and forth between two settings which made it kind of difficult to understand and read.
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