The Dirty Cowboy
Amy Timberlake, author
Adam Rex, illustrator
2003

(this post was written well in advance of the recent brou ha ha regarding the same book–but this seems like a good time to post the review).

Our family’s favorite read-alouds are those that are quotable and/or lend themselves to easy drawls; The Dirty Cowboy is both.

Long overdue for a scrub, a cowboy goes down to the river and gives his faithful dog strict instructions: “‘Dawg!’ he said. ‘No one touches these clothes but me. Hear?'” After enjoying a cleansing romp in the water (illustrated with tasteful modesty), the cowboy returns for his duds only to find that his dog doesn’t recognize him without the familiar stench, and fiercely guards the pile. A hilarious tussle ensues between faithful dog and squeaky clean cowboy; by the end of the book, the faithful dog now recognizes the scent of the once-again-dirty-cowboy…but the clothes have bitten the dust.

This book recently came to attention because a parent wished to have the book banned from a library for its “nudity.” It is true that the cowboy spends nearly the entire book naked, but the rich and amazing illustrations also do an amazing job of being discreet.  For more information, author Amy Timberlake discusses the controversy.

Cover image from goodreads

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