Booklook Review: Conrad and the Cowgirl Next Door by Denette Fretz & Gene Barretta

In this follow up to Denette Fretz & Gene Barretta’s first duo children’s book, Pirates on the Farm, they have collaborated once more on Conrad and the Cowgirl Next Door! As part of The Next Door Series, this book is ideal for children 4-8 years of age.

Conrad is spending some time at his Uncle Clint’s ranch learning to be a cowboy, but he quickly admits, “I don’t know the rules.” He is in for a rocky introduction to life as a cowboy. Thankfully, he packed his Mega Ultimate Extreme First Aid Kit, because he will be needing it from Day 1! Conrad learns many lessons throughout this story, including “don’t squat with spurs on”, and that cayenne pepper is HOT! Meanwhile, Imogene (the Cowgirl Next Door) is quickly making herself an enemy to Conrad with her less than kind remarks! What is Conrad to do?

The message Denette Fretz portrays is that of a “love your neighbor” parable. All children can relate to this as they learn what it means to have friends and enemies, those who can be difficult and those you just can’t stand at times. This message was presented in a truly engaging and funny manner, with a clear moral at the end. As well, Fretz has included a letter to parents in her book with scripture, questions for discussion, and a brief telling of her own experience and motivation for writing this story. I was very impressed with the spiritual and Biblical basis for this book!

Gene Barretta’s illustrations are colorful and clever, and assist in telling the story, particularly for younger children. My two-year-old daughter loved this book, and was really taken by the pictures as we read it (and then read it again)!

I would highly recommend this book to other parents and children, particularly those who are looking for ways to teach kids about loving your enemies. I would agree that this is more geared to older preschoolers/young elementary aged children; however, as in our case, there will be some younger 2’s and 3’s who will enjoy the story and grow into its message! I look forward to other titles by Fretz!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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