Drywater Gulch had a toad problem.
Not the hop-down-your-britches kind of toad.
Not the croaking-all-night kind of toad.
The never-say-thank-you outlaw kind of toad.
I just love the word 'gulch'. I have talked about this previously. A gulch is deep, narrow, steep sided ravine. In this book we are truly in cowboy country.
This book also has such a great cast of characters.
The Toad Brothers - who would "steal your gold, kiss your cattle, and insult your chili. Hootin', hollarin', and cussin' all the while."
The Mayor with the perfect name Mayor McMuffin
Ryan, the hero and new sheriff who rides into town (slowly) on his tortoise.
Can you handle a shooting iron?
Ride a horse?
Know any rope tricks?
Stay up past eight?
Ryan does, however, know a lot about dinosaurs.
When the bank is robbed Ryan knows the culprit is T-Rex. When the stagecoach is robbed, Ryan can see a Velocripator at work. The Toad Brother are outraged. They want credit for their crimes. Ryan, the Sheriff, explains he needs to put the criminal dinosaurs in jail.
"The Toads fought their way through the door of the jail, slamming it shut behind them. 'HA! You can blow them dinersores out your nose, Sheriff, this here jail of full up of real bonafide criminals.!"
Ryan has solved the problem, the gang are now in jail and everyone is happy. The question is did Ryan really know what he was doing? Did he understand reverse psychology at the tender age of seven and what adventures await his attention over the horizon?
Did you notice the word dinersores. It is one of many delicious example of word play in this book.
Every school library should have picture books for older students. Some I especially love are Mr Maxwell's Mouse, Grandad's Gifts by Paul Jennings and The Stranger. You can see my full list by clicking the subject link on my sidebar and here in my Pinterest collection. Here is a list with other ideas of picture books for older kids and adults too.
You can see nearly all of the illustrations from this book on the publisher web site.
This is a book from 2014 but it is a new discovery for me. I found it in my local public library and knowing other wonderful books by Lane Smith I was keen to read this one. Take the time to read this interview with Bob Shea and Lane Smith - it is so funny just like this hilarious picture book. Take a look at this review on Nerdy Book Club.
Coming from Australia I am not sure I can do the right accent needed when you read this book aloud. Luckily I found a video. Take a look and a listen here to this piece by Storybook Theater. It is just perfect. You could also use this book for a discussion about visual literacy concepts. There are some excellent ideas about this in Horn Book.
A crowd-pleasin’ knee-slapper that’ll have ’em rolling in the aisles, yessirree. Kirkus Star Review
Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads is extraordinary in tone, humor, slang and physical beauty, and surely belongs on any Caldecott short list. It is a picture book masterpiece. Sam Juliano Wonders in the Dark
A great read aloud, this picture book is silliness through and through with a western twang. Waking Brain Cells