Top 5 Wild West Books to Wrangle Their Imagination

This week, we ponied up into the Wild West world of kids’ cowboy books, a departure from our usual exploration of princesses and all things pink, given my two young daughters’ interests. We embarked on a journey to uncover the intricacies of cowboy attire, the rugged landscapes they roamed, and fascinating tidbits about their beloved horse companions. Here are our top choices of Wild West books, each offering a glimpse into the rich cowboy culture.

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Wild West Lesson Plans

How I spent My summer Vacation

by Mark Teague

“How I Spent My Summer Vacation” by Mark Teague is a kids cowboy book that follows the imaginative adventures of a young boy named Wallace. 


When Wallace was shipped out West for his summer vacation, he informed his class that he had been kidnapped by cowboys who desperately needed his help since another cowboy quit.


Wallace soon realized there was more to being a cowboy than just a hat and boots. There’s roping, riding, and making fires.


When all the work was done, he and his cowboy buddies were invited back to Aunt Fern’s for a barbecue when a stampede broke out. You’ll never guess who stopped the cattle using quick thinking and some of those amazing cowboy skills.


Cowboy Camp by Tammi Sauer

Kids Cowboy Books

“Cowboy Camp” by Tammi Sauer is a cowboy children’s book that follows Avery, a boy who shows up to cowboy camp feeling completely out of place. 


Avery doesn’t like eating beans, is allergic to horses, and gets rope burns when trying to lasso cattle. He definitely doesn’t feel like a cowboy.


That night, Avery is sitting alone at the campfire when a bad guy shows up looking to stop the cowboy camp. 

Avery quickly thinks of using his not-so-cowboyish qualities to trick the bad guy into leaving, saving everyone at cowboy camp.


cowboy boyd and mighty calliope

by Lisa Moser

Next up, we read Cowboy Boyd and Mighty Calliope by Lisa Moser. Cowboy Boyd shows up to a ranch ready to work with his, er, horse. Or so he thinks. 


Calliope is a slow, lumpy, and far-from-graceful rhinoceros, but she is ready and willing to work on the ranch. 


They mend the fence and move the cattle, but it doesn’t seem like Calliope is going to cut it at the ranch. That is, until a big storm drives all the cattle away and Calliope uses her unique skills to round them back up and save the day.


This book exemplifies that we are all different and all possess unique qualities that are useful in different situations, especially when we work with determination. I also love that this book includes some of the chores on the ranch – the perfect intro to our Cowboy Ranch Dramatic Play!


The gingerbread Cowboy by Janet Squires

Wild West Books for Kids

“The Gingerbread Cowboy” by Janet Squires is a delightful children’s book that puts a Western twist on the classic tale of the gingerbread man


In this version, a gingerbread cowboy leaps from the oven and sets off on a wild adventure, evading various animals as he gallops through the desert. 


Along the way, he encounters a sly coyote who tries to trick him into becoming a tasty treat. Will he succeed?


Armadillo Rodeo by Jan Brett

Wild West Books for Kids

Jan Brett is an all-time favorite author of many beloved children’s books, including The Mitten


She writes another lovable story called Armadillo Rodeo, turning her attention to the Texas rodeo. 

In this story, a curious armadillo wanders away from his mother and siblings after he spots a new friend – a new shiny boot that he mistakes for a red armadillo. The little armadillo then follows his “new friend” to the rodeo for an adventurous day at the rodeo.


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Books like these kids’ cowboy books are a great way to learn about the world around us, especially when we find just the right books for each topic or theme. My favorite type of books for preschoolers are ones that intertwine interesting facts with an exciting fiction story. The storyline, along with vibrant illustrations, helps keep the attention of our little learners. Yes, little do they know that they learn facts about our topic as we read intriguing stories.

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