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BUBBA THE COWBOY PRINCE : A Fractured Texas Tale
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BUBBA THE COWBOY PRINCE : A Fractured Texas Tale

 

BUBBA THE COWBOY PRINCE, A Fractured Texas Tale, is a wonderfully unusual adaptation of the timeless folktale, Cinderella. The roles are reversed in that Bubba lives with his wicked stepbrothers and his evil stepfather. The stepbrothers are lazy and bossy while Bubba responds to their every whim. Miz Lurleen, a wealthy neighboring rancher, declares, “I aim to find myself a feller;” so she throws herself a ball. By the time Bubba helps his “steps” get ready to go, he’s exhausted and smelly. As he heads for the pasture, his fairy godcow appears and provides him with “the handsomest cowboy duds he’d ever laid eyes on” and turns a steer into a beautiful white stallion. Upon arriving at the ball, Miz Lurleen declares Bubba “as cute as a cow’s ear” and he wins her heart. Of course, when the clock strikes midnight, he turns into a dirty cowpoke again. He loses a cowboy boot in his flight, which makes it easy for Miz Lurleen to find Bubba the next day. As in any decent western, they ride off into the sunset; and “they lived happily ever after, roping, and cowpoking, and gitting them doggies along.”

 

Even with its few changes, the plot remains the same. This Cinderella (or, rather, “Cinderfeller” story) is as delightful as the traditional version. Since it’s familiar, the plot is very predictable; children will enjoy that Bubba, the quintessential “good guy,” comes out on top, while the stepbrothers and “their wicked daddy threw chicken fits.” The Texas dialect used by Ketterman simply must be read aloud, and with a decided twang.

 

The illustrations, painted by James Warhola, are oil on canvas and include many details which enhance the story. Warhola artfully captures many Texas characteristics in each scene, from the cactus in the dirt to Miz Lurleen’s horseshoe-shaped fireplace and Alamo-backed bench. The characters, both human and animal (as well as the fairy godcow), have features bigger than life; Warhola is a master at giving them the appropriate comical expressions. Whenever the stepbrothers are present, their dog is there too, looking as mean as they are. Similarly, Bubba’s dog is ever-present, sharing both his moods and his chores.

 

Children will enjoy reading this tale and comparing it to the original Cinderella. Even for those too young to read, the large, colorful illustrations tell the familiar story just as well.

 

Ketteman, Helen. 1997. BUBBA THE COWBOY PRINCE: A FRACTURED TEXAS TALE. Illustrated by James Warhola. New York: Scholastic Press. ISBN: 0590255061.

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