Bubba, The Cowboy Prince: A Fractured Texas
At first blush one might not associate Cinderella and
cow pies but Helen Ketteman's tale is a truly fractured version of the
classic Cinderella fairy tale. Bubba, the Cinderella in this variant,
lives on an isolated West Texas ranch with his evil stepdaddy and nasty
stepbrothers, Milton and Dwayne. Bubba does the work of three cowhands,
sweating and stinky from sunup to sundown.
When Mis Lurleen, a wealthy bachelorette living in a large
ranch nearby Bubba's, announces she's inviting everyone to a dance for
the sole purpose of finding herself a cowboy mate to work with her on
her ranch and keep her company, cowboys from near and far prepare to
win her hand. Hopeful as anyone, Milton, Dwayne and the evil Stepdaddy
clean up, dress up and head out to the dance, leaving Bubba behind,
forlorn and forgotten.
To dull the pain he rides out on the open range to look
at the cattle, paying no mind to a rapidly approaching thunderstorm.
Zapped by lightning, flung off his horse, he comes face to face with
his fairy Godcow. After a swish of her magical tale, Bubba is instantaneously
decked out in polished boots, crisply creased blue jeans, beautiful
colored shirt, a gargantuan Stetson hat, and a cow turned gallant white
Bubba arrives at the dance but has to wait until almost
midnight before getting his long-anticipated dance with Mis Lurleen.
As they began two-stepping around the dance floor and as he begins winning
Mis Lurleen's heart, the clock chimes midnight and Bubba's clothes revert
to smelly rags and his ride into a cow. Embarrassed, he runs away shedding
a boot in his haste. Mis Lurleen latches on to the boot and uses it
to track down Bubba the next day. They decide to marry and live happily
together for a good, long while.
The illustrations in the book jive perfectly with the
comic mood and the West Texas setting. With armadillos, lizards, cowboy
attire and ranching implements all around the story is a vocabulary-rich
addition to the Cinderella canon. The depiction of the fairy Godcow
adds additional off-the-wall humor to the story's zany ambiance.
Bubba's story provides rich fodder for those wanting to
compare and contrast story elements common to fairy tales. Students
can begin to see the liberty one can take with story elements. They
begin to appreciate how they might twist, bend or even fracture the
conventional story line when providing a different setting, culture,
customs and/or historical period in which to imagine and create a new
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