Review of the Week – “Leroy Ninker Saddles Up”

leroyninkersaddlesupDiCamillo, Kate. Leroy Ninker Saddles Up. Chris Van Dusen, Illus. Fiction. “Tales from Deckawoo Drive Series”. Candlewick, 2014. 90p. $12.99. 978-0-7636-6339-1. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 1-3.

In the first of a new series that includes some of the characters from the author’s Mercy Watson series, the focus is on Leroy Ninker. Leroy is a small man with big dreams of becoming a cowboy. He has all he needs—a hat, boots, a lasso—excepting he has no horse. A friend shows him an advertisement: “Horse for sale….Old but good. Very exceptionally cheap.” Leroy adopts Maybelline, a horse with a quirky personality, and they embark on a new friendship. The b&w illustrations are humorous, expressive, and lively with each character, even the horse, given a unique appeal. The font is smaller than Mercy Watson’s font, with more than a dozen lines of text per page, making this a next-step-up from DiCamillo’s popular pig books. The ending is predictably sweet. Children will enjoy reading about these charming friends.

Kathy L. Haug, Retired

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