Southwest Children's Literature

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Clarence Goes Out West and Meets a Purple Horse

Book Review:

This book is about the adventures of a small pig named Clarence who headed out West to live at a ranch. Clarence arrives at the ranch late for dinner and feeling homesick. The next morning, however, Clarence meets Smoky, a large purple horse, and they quickly become best friends. The two of them do lots of fun things together, such as playing cards, line dancing, playing the washtub in a cowboy band, and reading books. Clarence enjoys the time with Smoky so much that he is shocked to discover that Smoky is no longer needed at the ranch and is going to be sold. In order to save Smoky and their precious friendship, Clarence buys Smoky from the ranch and they start a new adventure together riding back to Clarence's home.

The story of Clarence and Smoky teaches children the meaning of friends and friendship. You can have all types of fun with your friends, but friendship means more than fun. As the saying goes: A friend in need is a friend indeed. Clarence buys Smoky from the ranch so Smoky won't have to be "down the road" or "over the hill." He is the friend in need. Reading this funny and delightful book, children will laugh out loud at the adventures of Clarence and Smoky, while they learn the importance of friendship.

Apart from the simple and delightful text, the author-illustrator enhances the charm of the book with her vibrant illustrations. The illustrations are a rich Southwestern style, with desert terra cotta orange and dark Saguaro green. The illustrations are done in pen and ink with an acrylic wash on watercolor paper. The text type is set in Janson and the display type is Mildew.

Also, it is worth mentioning that the character, Smoky, is based on a real rescued horse of the same name that now lives peacefully in Tucson, Arizona.

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