George Fletcher was an incredibly talented cowboy and rider, yet he was only given second place at the 1911 Pendleton Round-Up. The author traces George's early life as his family took the Oregon Trail to the Northwest, his friendship with the children on the Umatilla Reservation, his lifelong love of horses, and the story of that historic rodeo. The illustrations capture the spirit of the horses and riders. The sense of movement comes across clearly in images of George "riding a make-believe bronco" or riding back to back on the same bucking horse with cowboy Jesse Stahl. But George's love of horses is also shown, especially in an image of young George blowing lightly into a horse's face.
Stories of individuals who persevere and follow their passion despite prejudice are always a welcome addition to classroom and library collections. It is also good to have a wider variety of individuals to read about during Black History Month than the few Civil Rights figures that most lessons focus on. Authors such as Vaunda, who research stories that have been left out of the history books, help to fill gaps in our understanding and collective knowledge.
I read a review copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley.
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