The Wildest Cowboy

Publisher: Macmillan

Only the roughest, toughest folks live in the Wild West town of Fear, but that’s not going to discourage Bingo B Brown, bear and purveyor of boomerang hats, inflatable boots and other delightfully zany goodies. But there’s a particularly threatening wolfish cowboy that visits Fear every night, and the way that the townsfolk describe him makes Bingo think twice and catch the next train home.

Yet Bingo and his dog still aren’t safe from the mysterious cowboy, and it’s only when the train screeches to a juddering stop – and Bingo’s colourful goodies cover the wolfish character – that he changes from wicked to calm and happy. And once the source of Fear’s negativity has been vanquished by joy, maybe it can start a new, happier life.

The Wild West isn’t usually a setting for many picture books (at least in the UK), which seems a shame based on this riotous, colourful adventure, which fuses the joy of fancy dress with the dusty remoteness of a pioneer town. This is film director and writer Garth Jennings’ debut picture book, and his Seuss-like rhyming text powers the story along with the bouncy rhythm of Bingo B Brown’s train. Sara Ogilvie’s vibrant, animated and detailed illustration is a perfect partner, giving a fearless sense of fun triumphing over fear.

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