Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Review - Rowdy Randy

Rowdy Randy
by Casey Day Rislov
illustrated by Zachary Pullen
Date: 2019
Publisher: Casey Rislov Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

"Yeehaw!" Rowdy Randy shouted to the wind. "I was born to buck!" Rowdy Randy is the toughest cowgirl around. Never mind that this broncobuster is a horsefly. She acts taller than any tall tale. She might be easy to overlook, but Rowdy Randy definitely can t be ignored. She spends her days buzzing and biting all the creatures in her path, all the while stirring up a whole heap of trouble. Saddle up and hold on tight for a story that ll jangle your spurs and blow your cowboy hat clean off.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I wanted to like this one more than I did. It sounds like a fun premise. The problem is... there's no story.

Rowdy Randy is a horsefly. She wears chaps and cowboy boots and glittery green eyeshadow (the picture that was chosen for the cover isn't the best; it's relatively unappealing, compared to the rest of Zachary Pullen's fun illustrations within). Each day, Rowdy Randy looks for critters to annoy. I think. I had to go back and reread the beginning to try to figure out what the setup was. As far as I can tell, that's all the story this book has going for it: the horsefly encounters a bunch of different animals and... well, maybe she tries to annoy them, but in a lot of cases she's trying to engage with them. So I'm not entirely sure what the point of the book is. To show that horseflies are annoying? What a waste of the cute illustrations!

This could've really been something special with a better story. To make matters worse, the book ends abruptly with what appears to be a cliffhanger. The last words are literally, "Is this how it ends?" Well, we have no idea! The next page has a picture of Rowdy Randy riding a jackalope, as if nothing happened. I... don't get it.

The pictures are lovely and fun, and the writing is surprisingly good for a self-published work. There's just the little matter of there not being a story. For a reader, that's kind of difficult to overlook.

Thank you to NetGalley and Casey Rislov Books for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.83 out of 5

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