A Newbery Honor book in 1938, James Bowman’s Pecos Bill is the perfect introduction to a great American comic hero and to the delights of the American tall tale. Jolted off the back of his westward-bound pioneer family’s covered wagon, four-year-old Bill is left in the dust by his eighteen wawling and brawling siblings and never-suspecting mom and dad. Raised by coyotes as one of their own, Bill retains a natural innocence while developing a host of supernatural powers. When he finds out that he is a man, not a coyote, and returns to confront the often inhuman human world, those powers will come in handy. Bill never uses them maliciously, always for good, or simply to amaze and amuse.
James Bowman was a fine folklorist and an outstanding storyteller and he relates Pecos Bill’s wild deeds in a plainspoken voice that highlights their wonderful swagger and charm. With lively color and black-and-white illustrations by Laura Bannon, Bowman’s Pecos Bill remakes bedrock American myth into a novel full of high adventure, outrageous fantasy, laughter, and sheer fun. 296 pages. Recommended for 4th-7th grades.