Avery wants to be a cowboy, but he just doesn't fit in at Cowboy Camp. His clothes are all wrong and he can't do any cowboy things the way they're supposed to be done; he's allergic to horses, can't stand beans and grits, and rope gives him burns. But one night a low-down, ornery bad cowboy sneaks up on camp....and Avery has to decide if he does have what it takes to be a cowboy!
I liked the tongue-in-cheek silliness, especially at the end when Avery's disadvantages were turned into a way to scare off the bad guy. I did feel like we were just dumped into the story. Does he really want to be a cowboy? Where did they all come from? The story seems to have both modern elements - the cowboys in training include girls and different ethnicities, as well as the whole idea of Cowboy Camp, but the bad guy seemed right out of a Wild West story.
I didn't have any strong feelings either way about the illustrations. They have a strong Western flavor with a sort of dusty patina over everything (you think history, I think dirt) and there are some nice backgrounds for the various characters and action.
Verdict: Are any kids into being cowboys today? If so, they'd probably appreciate this book. It might be nice for kids who feel like they can't do anything right also. I'll have to try it out on some kids before I get a definite feeling for it.
ISBN:978-1402722240; Published November 2005 by Sterling; Borrowed from the library.