Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Oklahoma early 1900s and 2000s - what a difference

by Elysabeth Eldering

Prairie dogs are fast little animals. Most can be found in the midwestern states and that's where we find Buddy Roberts practicing his roping skills to become a "real cowboy." When "Prairie Dog Cowboy" opens, we find ourselves in the middle of turn of the century, before it became a state Oklahoma. Buddy Roberts' mother carries a bitterness towards her second born child due to health issues that occurred while she was pregnant with him causing her to lose lucrative work with Buddy's grandfather. Because of his upbringing, being shunned by his own mother and not knowing anything else, Buddy works his family's property from the time he can really get out and herd the cows and do chores.

In "Prairie Dog Cowboy", we are taken through almost fifteen years of Buddy's life, his trials and tribulations and eventually him becoming a man. His mother thinks he is only good for working with his back, but that which does not break us makes us stronger. Buddy works hard and knows that eventually he will have much to show for it, or will he? When Buddy's father passes away, his mother expects him to do more work to keep the family farm/ranch going and to prevent his older brother from doing any work at all.

Every page of this historical novel keeps tugging at your heartstrings because you so want Buddy to triumph over his mother's bitterness and hatred. You want him to be seen for what he truly is - a cowboy. You want his mother to at least hug him one time and tell him she loves him. You want him to prevail no matter what. Buddy has no further to look than a neighboring rancher who takes Buddy in under his wing and allows him to totally grow up to be the man he will be. Even though Buddy's journey starts when he is almost 5 years old, he is already grown up and wise beyond his years due to all his hard work.

Vivian paints a picture of what life was like in the days of prairies and "real cowboys" and brings some history to the readers as well.

For more on this story, pick up a copy at your local bookstore or order directly from 4RV Publishing. Books may also be ordered from

- In the late 1800s/early 1900s, there were no fences around property and if you owned property, you were considered very wealthy. (Today, fences and distinct markings make it easy to keep the herds where they should be.)
- Then, almost all work was done by the hands of the land's owners and hired hands. Very hard and back breaking work for anyone, especially the children. (Today, vehicles are used to cultivate the property and make life a bit easier. The ranchers and farmers do still ride horses and herding still done via horseback, but for the actual farm work - most of the "chores" of yesteryear are not as difficult to endure now.)
- Prior to 1907 and Oklahoma becoming a state in the union, children who were of age to work the farms and ranches rarely attended school after eighth grade and if you got to attend school, you were lucky. (Now, most children, even when old enough to work the farms and ranches, attend school up to graduation and even go to college. Most may only help out after school and on the weekends.)

These are just a few of the things we experience when following Buddy in "Prairie Dog Cowboy." Check out the book and see if you would be able to handle life in the time of Buddy growing up.


Unknown said...

Nice review of the book, Elysabeth. I think my sons would enjoy reading Prairie Dog Cowboy.

elysabeth said...

I think they would too. You would probably enjoy it also. I've not been much of a history buff but since starting my series, I've been picking up tidbits of history and fun stuff, so guess that's a good thing - lol.

I've also found myself reading books I wouldn't have thought of reading several years ago.

and PS - Today is Vivian's anniversary - so happy anniversary Vivian and Robert - may you have many more years together.

Vivian Zabel said...

Thanks, Elysabeth, for hosting Prairie Dog Cowboy and for the anniversary wishes.

Beth, if your boys ever do read Prairie Dog Cowboy, please let me know how they like it. Thanks for dropping by.

Nancy Famolari said...

Very interesting comparison of then and now. It's good to be reminded about how much things have changed.

Enjoyed your review!


Anonymous said...

I like this review. I really like the comparisons of the change in 100 years. WOW!! Also, Happy Anniversary to you and Robert. I wish you many more!

Vivian Zabel said...

Thanks for joining the tour, Nancy and Suzy. I appreciate your comments.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Though it wasn't always true, I now love historical fiction books. My love of history started when I was researching my family tree. Reading about the lives of our ancestors hooked me.

A great review, elysabeth. Another book to add to my TRB list.


Rena Jones said...

Interesting comparisons, Elysabeth. That's a fun way to put thins into perspective. :)

elysabeth said...

Thanks Rena. I tried to do something different since I had just hosted Vivian and Prairie Dog Cowboy not too long ago. It's hard to keep the momentum sometimes and you just have to think outside the box to see what you can do to make it new and interesting (even though it may be something already stated somewhere else). I keep learning more and more about Vivian on each of her tours (or at least her writing habits). Glad you all could stop by. Don't forget that there will be a drawing for four (4) canvas totes at the end of the tour, open to those of you who leave comments. Good luck to you all - E :)

Vivian Zabel said...

I appreciate all the visits and comments today, and Elyabeth hosting us.

Please, anyone who does read Prairie Dog Cowboy or whose children do let me know what you think.

Charlotte Phillips said...

Now I realy want to read the book - thanks for a great review. Can you tell the UPS man to hurry?

elysabeth said...

I'm thinking it will be postman that needs to hurry Charlotte. Unless you ordered from or somewhere that uses UPS to ship. So wishing Charlotte gets her copy of the book quickly so she can read it. Thanks all for stopping by. Don't forget to check out the next stop on the tour and leave your comments - E :)

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