This summer my children's literature students have been searching out the various versions and retellings of well-known tales, especially fairy tales. I continue to be amazed at how many there are. Over the next several weeks, this column will feature some of these books.
"Bubba, The Cowboy Prince: A Fractured Fairy Tale", by Helen Ketteman and illustrations by James Warhola, comes courtesy of Wendy Petersen, librarian at the Dinosaur Public Library.
The central character in this "Cinderella" retelling is Bubba. He lives on a ranch with his wicked stepdaddy and Dwayne and Milton, his rotten, lazy stepbrothers. The brothers do nothing but torment and boss Bubba, but even though our hero has all the ranch work to do, he never complains. Bubba loves the ranch.
Down the road lives Miz Lurleen, the "purtiest and richest gal in the country."
It's time for Miz Lurleen to find herself a "feller" so she tells her butler that she's going to have a ball. Of course, the wicked stepdaddy and stepbrothers are invited, so poor Bubba "runs himself ragged" getting them ready. He washes clothes, polishes boots and finds bolo ties. Then he shoes a horse and sticks him in a tub of water and scrubs him. The dog gets a kick out of watching Bubba wash the horse, and it is quite a sight, indeed.
When Bubba's stepdaddy and stepbrothers are all ready, Bubba wants them to wait so he can go, too, but they say he's "sorrier than a steer at a stockyard." So Bubba goes out to check the herd.
A storm is coming up, and a bolt of lightning throws his horse up in the air. Bubba is thrown off, but he hears a voice say, "Go to the ball, Bubba.
The voice is coming from a big white and brown cow with curls between her horns and a pink halo over her head. It's the fairy godcow, of course. With one flick of her tail, she turns Bubba into the "handsomest cowboy" you ever saw. Bubba is all ready for the ball, but he must be home by midnight.
Guess what happens in the middle of the doe-si-doe-ing? And guess what was left behind.
This clever book was published by Scholastic Press in l997, so I'm not sure about its availability. In hardback, it was $15.95. (ISBN 0-590-25506-1)
Diane Prather Box 415 Craig, CO 81626 824-8809