Under Cowboy Sam’s hat are more secrets than fleas on Doc Peeble’s hound dog, more secrets than peppers on a chili pepper plant, and more secrets than spikes on a horny toad lizard. Just about everyone in the town of Dry Gulch wants to tell Sam a secret. But when his hat gets plum full of secrets and won’t stay put on his head, Sam is bumfuzzled and bewildered. How can he keep all those secrets under wrapsand keep the townfolk from going crazy?
Perfectly matched by Mike Wohnoutka’s comic illustrations, this funny and unexpectedly touching tale will appeal to readers young and old alike.
Caballero wannabes will get a bigger-than-Texas bang out of Griffin and Combs's slangy, twangy debut. Cowboy Sam, the best confidant in Dry Gulch, keeps more secrets under his hat "than fleas on Doc Peeble's hound dog (and that's a whole lot of fleas)." But one day his hat gets so full that it starts popping off his head. While the townspeople worry about what will become of their secrets, Sam tries holding down his hat with horseshoes and a sack of oats, then ties it down with a leather strap and even stands on his head all to no avail. "That hat exploded and blew Sam way up into the air like a wild turkey. All the secrets rocketed into outer space." In the end, there's only one place big enough: Cowboy Sam's heart. The authors embellish this tall tale with a passel of colorful descriptions ("higher than a jackrabbit jumping over a prickly pear cactus") and rhythmic phrases ("He felt more bamboozled than an armadillo without his armor. More dejected than a crawdad without his craw. More lonesome than a Texas ranger without his range"). Wohnoutka's (Counting Sheep) comical acrylic illustrations have a touch of Mark Teague, particularly in their large-as-life perspectives and round, stylized faces, but the palette here is milder, brushed with the soft colors of the Southwest. Rootin'-tootin' boot-scootin' fun, beginning to end. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.