Cowboy Clues

July 27, 2009

Ever played What am I?  In the game, you  give clues to your audience, going from the least known clue to the more popular.  Andy Rash has created a children’s book that uses the games frame work.  I’m thinking of using this text with the primary classrooms as a pattern book.  I also see this being a great mentor text for the upper elementary students who have great background knowledge in a subject area.  They could create fun books for kids with the knowledge they know following the structure of this text, Are You a Horse?

Roy, the cowboy, receives a saddle as a present.  He is given instructions to get a horse, but he does not know what a horse is.  So, Roy’s adventure begins as he looks for the horse.  As he meets different objects, he asks the repetitive question, “Are you a horse?” to which the ‘thing’ says ‘no’ and gives a clue to what a horse is.

For example, Roy first meets an old wagon, who says:  “A horse is a living thing.”  Next he meets a cactus, who says:  “A horse is an animal.”  It continues through clues of legs, color, being clean, fast, etc.  Excellent text to help with categorizing in the area of science.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Are You a Horse?:

  • Repeating line/structure
  • Hybrid text of sorts – mystery with clues; informational with facts; narrative
  • Surprise ending – you have to read it to believe it
  • Adjectives – each object/animal Roy meets is described with two adjectives:  “A skittery, pinchy thing ran sideways in front of Roy.  It had plenty of legs.”  “Roy came to a tree with a feathered, hooting thing on a branch.”
  • Bold lettering for voice – Roy was very upset.  “WHY CAN’T I FIND A HORSE?” he shouted.

A Boy Read

Must-Have book

(Warsaw Public Library)


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