Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Book Review :: Conrad and the Cowgirl Next Door By Denette Fretz, illustrated by Gene Barretta

Conrad and the Cowgirl Next Door is the second book in The Next Door Series by Denette Fretz. 

The first book in the series was Pirates on the Farm. You can read my review of that book here. Although I didn't really care much for Pirates on the Farm, my kids really enjoyed it, so I figured it was worth giving this book a shot. 

Personally, I didn't care for this book much more than I did Pirates on the Farm. The story of Conrad and the Cowgirl Next Door is similar to Pirates on the Farm in that the story is not complete without the illustrations to back it up. (Meaning there are ideas you won't get from just the text - you need to illustrations to get the complete idea.)

Conrad and the Cowgirl Next Door is a story about a boy Conrad and his adventures in "cowboy training" on his Uncle Clint's ranch. Most of the adventures involve a first aid kit and taunting from the cowgirl next door (Imogene Louise Lathrop). 

I felt that what should have been the main idea of the book (loving your enemies) took a backseat to the antics. Even the idea of loving your enemies was worded in a way that I thought could easily be mistaken as unloving: "Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads."

When I finished reading Conrad and the Cowgirl Next Door to my 5 year old son, I asked him a few questions. Here is how the conversation went:

Q: What did you think?
A: Good.
Q: Did you learn anything?
A: Yeah. You need a doctor kit. And a horse.
Q: Did you learn anything about how cowboys should act?
A: Nice.
Q: Were they nice in the story?
A: No, actually they were kinda mean. 

I feel like that conversation sums it up pretty well. Unfortunately, I don't think I would recommend this book unless you use it purely as a jumping off point for conversations with your kids.
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

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