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Real Cowboys

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  477 ratings  ·  127 reviews
In Kate Hoefler’s realistic and poetic picture book debut about the wide open West, the myth of rowdy, rough-riding cowboys and cowgirls is remade. A timely and multifaceted portrayal reveals a lifestyle that is as diverse as it contrary to what we've come to expect. ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 4th 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Average rating 4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  477 ratings  ·  127 reviews

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Nov 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Readers Who Are Looking for Children's Books About Cowboys and/or Masculine Traits
With a simple text exploring the true nature of cowboys - cowboys, the narrator assures us, are gentle, thoughtful, and know how to listen and to ask for help - and appealing artwork that captures both the broad sweep of life on the range and the specific experiences of one cowboy, Real Cowboys takes an iconic image and uses it to deconstruct notions of what that image represents. Although tough and hard-working, cowboys are also considerate and caring; although practical and down-to-earth, they ...more
Dec 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As someone who hates Westerns almost as much as the patriarchy, I thought this book would be a total miss. But, but , I loved it. I'm all for children's books that introduce diverse ways of living, and this book does that to a T. The illustrations are as captivating and immersive as the author's prose, and I adore the message that you can be strong & kind, tough & emotional, find beauty in nature & solitude, and find happiness by yourself & with others. ...more
tracy lou
Dec 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I might be naive, and I'm sure there are probably a million problems with this book that many of my friends would love to discuss in a graduate course, but I think that, in general, this book is a very appropriate response to the toxic, disturbing masculinity running rampant in U.S. culture today. This is a great book if you want to talk about character traits. ...more
Jon Nakapalau
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book that introduces children to what cowboys (and cowgirls) really do.
Nov 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: new-book-look
I am a little bit in love with this book! I briefly met Kate last winter and I'm excited to finally see the finished product.

Hoefler's poetic, poignant text is set off so beautifully by Bean's illustrations. I especially love the spread of depicting a lone cowboy gazing out over the prairie with the line "Real cowboys cry." Having known more than a few real cowboys in my day (my dad's family is from Oklahoma), I'd say many of them might tear up over this nuanced and honest portrayal of their li
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent artwork.
Emily Sampson
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s
Everyone should read this to their children. It’s so thoughtfully written and beautifully illustrated.
Nov 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Right away this cover grabbed me. The many textures, patterns, and subtle use of color just draws the eye in. BUT THE STORY, oh my goodness, it speaks to me.

I like the way Hoefler portrays cowboys as real people with real feelings. There is nothing rough or tumble about these cowboys. They are patient and kind, lovers of animals and Earth. It is a refreshing change of pace to read about something that is so manly but so gentle and caring.

Thank you Kate Hoefler
Apr 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
If I could give a separate rating for illustrations it would be a 4 star as I did enjoy the colors used as well as the rather indistinct look of the illustrations.
The text well it just doesn't ring true that now we have the real way a cowboy is: all soft and gentle like and his work day goes smoothly because he is in harmony with everything. Seems to me this title is as much of a stereotype of what a cowboy is as the macho stereotype. I am disappointed in this title.
5* art
3* story

Not exactly a story. Squirt would've liked it better if it was - I mean if he had to choose between this and "Cowboy Small" by Lois Lenski, he would choose the latter every time. The author wanted to get a message across (even tough cowboys have feelings) which is fine, but much better conveyed within a real story. Absolutely gorgeous illustrations, though.
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Review to come.
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is so gorgeous and perfect, and is a lovely positive portrayal of masculinity.
A picture book illustrated by Jonathan Bean’s interesting colorful cut-outs and collages is always entertaining, and this time Kate Hoefler defines cowboys (who can also be cowgirls) in the most loving of ways. They are strong, patient, kind. They sing to calm the cattle, and keep away the loneliness. It’s a tough job to be away from home so long and to take constant care of the herd. I think there might be acres of conversation when reading this book to a class. I loved that the story shows so ...more
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This picture book takes a look at the skills that really make up a cowboy’s work. It’s not a book about lassoing and riding quickly. Instead the skills that a cowboy needs are things like patience, something that allows them to ride slowly along with the herd. They need to be about to ask for help from others and treat their dogs well. They have to be considerate of those around them and of the environment they ride through. They need to be strong but also careful and caring. They can be girls a ...more
Mary Ann
I love it when my young readers really get the big ideas--the surprising, unexpected ideas that authors and illustrators layer in their books--even when they haven't yet developed sophisticated language to describe these ideas.In Real Cowboys, Kate Hoefler and Jonathan Bean ask young readers to reconsider the stereotype of a macho cowboy.

Right from the cover, my students could tell that this cowboy was concerned and worried about the animal he was holding. They noticed the cowboy's expression a
Nov 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
For centuries, month after month, year after year, they have spent more time in a saddle on horseback than most other individuals. Their dedication to a particular way of life is disputed by few if any. They watch over and herd on ranches and the trail with their constant companions, cattle. They have been the subject of literature, movies, documentaries and television shows.

All of us have definitions for the word cowboy. We have places we put them geographically and historically. Real Cowboys (
Dec 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Audience: Preschool / Grade School

Illustrations: Bright and busy. Jonathan Bean uses multiple layers of silhouettes and texture to create his compositions which gives reads A LOT to look at.

Plot / Review: I really liked the message of this one. Many children go through a period of fascination with cowboys, so I appreciate that this book talks about more than steering cattle. It addresses their connection with the land and their herds. It shows that women can be “cowboys” too. It makes children
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Hoefler, Kate. Real Cowboys, PICTURE BOOK. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. $16.99.

Giving insight into how “real” cowboys spend their days, this picture book is full of details. In essence, real cowboys are respectful, hard working, and devoted. They have kind souls and do their jobs well. I also loved that it states that cowboys are many different colors of the earth and that “ Real cowboys are girls, too.” This is essentially a poem in picture book format and it’s outstanding. The pictures ar
Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids
This book reads like a story you'd except to be told sitting around the campfire out on the open plains. It's poetic and alluring. It not only tells the story of the life of real cowboys, this story makes readers feel like they're out on the cattle drives along side them. It's told in a way that even the youngest of readers will be captivated by the story, and one I imagine will inspire some readers to want to be cowboys/cowgirls when they grow up.

Read my full review here http://mundiekids.blogs
This fascinating picture book gives an excellent description of what it's like to be a real cowboy. The author uses personality traits such as quiet, careful, gentle, and calm to tell about the job of moving cattle over long distances. This is a topic that would be very unfamiliar to the students in my urban classroom. The author's style is very engaging and draws readers into this world that many of us only know from watching Western movies. The warm, beautiful illustrations make this a book I ...more
Oct 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture
I've never read a book like this. Growing up in the era of cowboys and Indian movies and television shows, I love this gentle telling of the wonders of the west. In today's society I wonder if young children know who cowboys are other than Woody from Toy Story fame.

The illustrations have a strange color to them, which is a bit off putting to me personally.

As I was reading this book, I wonder if young listeners would think of themselves as peaceful, patient humans??
Jan 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book, cowboys
You can nearly hear the wind blowing along the dusty trails and the cows plodding and mooing in this quiet book that resets the wild, shoot-em-up ideas of cowboys.

Cowboys are patient, they're always thinking about others' needs, they get lonely, and they want a peaceful herd. Cowboys are girls, too. The blocky prints blend these stalwart hands with the scenery and herds until it's sometimes hard to know where one starts and another ends. It's lovely, all around.
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
winter break bookaday #24. 5 stars! Love the illustration style, the different adjectives describing the cowboys, the relationship between the cowboys and their animal charges, the mention of diverse cowboys including cowgirls, and the ending!!!
Love the illustrations in this book and how one or minimal colors are used. The sentiment is lovely about how real cowboys act and feel.
Edward Sullivan
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
A poetic, multifaceted, myth-shattering portrait of cowboys and how they live with stunning, stylized illustrations by Jonathan Bean.
Maren Prestegaard
Jan 16, 2017 rated it liked it
My kids aren't fascinated by cowboys and the Wild West yet. Regardless, these illustrations just don't work for me. ...more
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lovely lovely book about "tough guys" and their unpublicized skills like listening and being safe. Very metaphor-laden for the grownups reading to kids. ...more
Michele Knott
Beautiful mentor text for writing.
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picturebooks, wonder
Bean's hand-stenciled art and Hoefler's gentle narration provide an intriguing portrait of cowboys. It makes me want to learn more about a cowboy's work today! ...more
May 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was great! A books telling what real cowboys and cowgirls do (not glorifying and romanticizing the profession)
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