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Pecos Bill

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By James Cloyd Bowman, illustrated by Laura Bannon

Pecos Bill had the strangest and most exciting experience any boy ever had. He became a member of a pack of wild Coyotes, and until he was a grown man, believed that his name was Cropear, and that he was a full-blooded Coyote. Later he discovered that he was a human being and very shortly thereafter became the greatest cowboy of all time. This is how it all came about.”

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.

Hardcover, 296 pages


Pecos Bill tells the thoroughly American saga of “the greatest cowboy of all time.” A fun medley of Wild West lore...these tall tales will have great appeal to those cowboy-lovers...
— The San Francisco Chronicle

The best collection of Bill tales is Pecos Bill: The Greatest Cowboy of All Time by James Cloyd Bowman. It was published in 1937 and was a Newbery Honor Book that year. It has been out of print for a long time, but now the New York Review Children’s Collection has published a gorgeous new hardcover edition that includes Laura Bannon’s delightful illustrations, many in color.
— Dallas Morning News

Youngsters can get reacquainted with James Cloyd Bowman’s 1938 Newbery Honor book Pecos Bill: The Greatest Cowboy of All Time, illus. by Laura Bannon, which had been out of print since 1970. Now a new generation can cheer for Pecos Bill, an original American hero.
— Publishers Weekly

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