THE MYSTERY OF THE LOST MAP
by Jim Rhoden
ages 4 to 10
Cowboy Little and Cowboy Small like adventures even more than Sunday dinner with fried chicken and Mama’s blue-ribbon apple pie. Every chance they get, they climb on their horses Ned and Ted, round up their dogs Red and Fred, their fleas Itch and Scratch, and their cattle Brawny Bull and Helen Heifer, and head out beyond the fences of Circle R Ranch. When they find old saddlebags filled with gold coins and a strange map, they set out to solve the mystery. On the way, they face bandits, Indians, and bats.
Cowboy Little and Cowboy Small live with their family on the ranch. They spend their days searching for small 'treasures', fishing, exploring and all those wonderful things kids their age do. When they run across saddles bags with coins and a strange map, adventure and mystery are not far behind. But this isn't a simple mystery to solve, and soon, they find themselves facing bandits, Indians and finding help in the most extraordinary places.
The author tugs readers into life in the West and brings it to life through two boys' eyes. While there are horses, Indians, bandits and all those type of things which readers expect when reading a Western, this novel goes a step further and shows that life had a more normal side too. The two young cowboys act and have interests as normal boys would have. Their interactions, thoughts and decisions come across understandable and readers will have no trouble connecting to them. There's a wonderful sense of family and friendship as well as trust in these pages.
There's never a boring moment as the adventure unfolds and soon holds many unexpected twists and turns. The mystery isn't easy to solve and as tension mounts, the two need to seek help from others. Not only does the story keep the pages turning, but the length is great for even more reluctant readers. Add the lovely illustrations at the beginning of each chapter, and this is a book which readers will enjoy for many reasons.
And here he is...