Reviews for Cowboy and the Black-Eyed Pea

Publishers Weekly Reviews 1992 October #3
This vivacious picture book gives an engaging Western slant to the familiar tale of ``The Princess and the Pea.'' When Farethee Well, ``a young woman of bodacious beauty,'' inherits her father's considerable estate, a parade of men seek the comely lass's hand in marriage. But the savvy Texan has a foolproof method for screening her suitors--she places a black-eyed pea beneath each man's saddle blanket, knowing that a true cowboy, sensing such an irritant, will ``bruise like the petals of a desert rose.'' Colorful lingo associated with the Lone Star state peppers Johnston's clever retelling. Ludwig's pencil and watercolor illustrations are serviceable but undistinguished. His human faces exhibit a range of appropriate emotions, but the renderings of horse and cattle seem overly cute, and commercial, and the palette is occasionally muddy. The quirky change of setting and the strong female protagonist, however, prove entertaining. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) Copyright 1992 Cahners Business Information.

School Library Journal Reviews 1992 December
K-Gr 3-- This excellent retelling of Andersen's ``The Princess and the Pea'' has several unique elements. There is a reversal of sex roles, and the setting is the old West in Texas. Upon her father's death, Farethee Well inherits his herd of cattle, his horses, and his land. Before he dies, he tells her that many men will propose marriage because of her wealth; however, she should look for one who will love her for herself and also for a real cowboy. The young woman remembers her father saying that real cowboys are sensitive, so she places a black-eyed pea under the suitor's saddle blankets and asks him to ride around her ranch. Several are declared fake cowboys. During a rainstorm, a young man appears who is obviously disturbed by the pea, and Farethee Well marries him. Ludwig's illustrations are realistic but humorous, and the story is well suited for reading or telling aloud. While Galdone's The Princess and the Pea (Seabury, 1978) is one of the best versions published, Johnston's is by far the most original to come along in the past few years. --Andrew W. Hunter, Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg, Charlotte, NC Copyright 1992 Cahners Business Information.