Perfect Picture Book Friday – Meanwhile Back At The Ranch

WA-HOO!  It’s March!  That means spring will be here… soon… eventually… 🙂

My Perfect Picture Book for today isn’t exactly about spring, but it does match the mood of light-heartedness that March brings 🙂

Meanwhile Back At The Ranch
Written By: Trinka Hakes Noble
Illustrated By: Tony Ross
Puffin Books, 1987, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 5-8

Themes/Topics: boredom, hyperbole, perspective

Opening: “Rancher Hicks lived out west.  as far as the eye could see there was nothing… not even a roaming buffalo.  So nothing much ever happened.”

Brief Synopsis: Not much happens out on the ranch, so Rancher Hicks heads into town looking for some excitement.  He invites his wife, Elna, to join him, but she declines, saying she has to dig potatoes.  Off he goes to Sleepy Gulch where he sees 12 year old Wanted posters, gets a whisker trim at the barber shop, has lunch at Millie’s Mildew Luncheonette (where there is nothing but potatoes on the menu), watches a checker game where it’s considered exciting if it takes the players only two hours to make a move, and then – OH WOW! – the whole town gathers to watch a turtle cross the road.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Elna is having a completely different experience that no one would describe as boring 🙂

Links To Resources: for a fun activity, you could list things that are boring alongside things that are exciting.  What makes something boring?  What makes something exciting?  Is it simply the activity itself, or is it who you’re doing it with?  Are there some activities that some people find exciting and others find boring?  Some things are all in how you look at them.  Here is a page full of optical illusions for kids – an exercise in perspective and looking at things differently.  Make up your own story where crazier and crazier things happen.

Why I Like This Book:  Don’t you love that American Gothic look to the cover?  This book is so delightfully silly and fun and light-hearted – it’s just a great story to share.  It’s totally exaggerated and unbelievable, but each scenario is so zany that you wonder what’s going to happen next to top it!  And the best part is the end, when Rancher Hicks comes home and tells Elna about the turtle… but I won’t spoil it for you 🙂

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

Now then, I realize this may be my shortest post ever, but I’m in the doghouse with certain parties for working too much, so I’m wrappin’ it up!

PPBF bloggers, please put your post-specific links in the list below so we can all enjoy your fabulous picks (I’ll sneak over when I can :))

Have a super-fantastic spring-will-almost-definitely-be-thinking-about-coming-by-the-end-of-this-month weekend! 🙂

42 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday – Meanwhile Back At The Ranch

  1. Laura Anne Miller says:

    Oh – this one is definitely going on my library list!! Sounds too fun to ignore. Just read about the poor princess' encounter with a rock!!!! So sorry-hope you've both recovered.

  2. Laura Renauld says:

    Sounds like a fun rollick (or gentle stroll?). Love books that juxtapose opposites. Can't wait to read it!

  3. Miranda Paul says:

    Sounds like a fun book. Maybe it will take our minds off of the fact that spring looks like it will never arrive in Wisconsin this year! Have a great day, Susanna!

  4. Sue Heavenrich says:

    I'm a sucker for anything that includes “…meanwhile, back at the ranch” because you know the sheep dip's gonna hit the fan the minute farmer joe heads to town.

  5. Wendy Greenley says:

    I like your resource idea, Susanna. So often it's how we look at something (I'm thinking of chores) that makes it boring or fun, and the fun attitude is the one we want to pass on to kids.

  6. Teresa Robeson says:

    Oh my gosh…just the title alone had me giggling! It totally appeals to me as a homesteading gal because city friends think our lives are pretty boring in that bucolic way, but I can tell you from chasing down our animals that it's not true. 😉

    I'm really fond of Tony Ross too; he was the illustrator for one of my poems in Babybug. I think he and I probably “started out” around the same time, but while I fizzled out for a while, he has done really well for himself. I'm so thrilled for him!

  7. Vivian Kirkfield says:

    Happy March, Susanna! I do love the American Gothic look…and I love the idea of looking at the things we need to do and having a positive attitude towards them…I agree that it is all in the way you look at it…and making tasks fun (how about dancing through the house with little ones, dusting with 'magic' fairy/wizard duster-wands?).
    My husband is often trying to pry my fingers from the computer keyboard…and he is right.:) So I'm glad this was a short post for you…and don't worry about visiting around and commenting…I know that for me, that is what takes so much time (fun and amazing though it is to read everyone's posts)…and I apologize to all because I have not done it in a couple of weeks. 😦

  8. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I know it! There is just never enough time for everything. I've been a bit absent from people's blogs too the last couple weeks – but I'm hoping things will ease up a bit now I've finished uploading all the parts of my course into the email templates. Of course I always seem to be tweaking… 🙂 And I signed up for the chapter book challenge – what was I thinking? 🙂 – I'm going to have at least one child and/or my husband home for the next month because of school vacations that don't match – there is no hope that I'll be able to get my usual amount of work done! 🙂 It's all good though! 🙂

  9. Rhythm says:

    This looks like a really cute book! I get that “boring” thing from kids all the time. I don't understand boring. I'll have to check this book out. Thanks!

  10. Patricia Tilton says:

    Love the cover. I imagine the illustrations are wonderful. Sounds like a very entertaining and clever story.

  11. Genevieve says:

    I think a turtle crossing the road would be fascinating! This sounds like a fun book. I wish I could taste it…. I mean read it. Mmmm….

    Love and licks,

  12. Joanna Marple says:

    I feel a little ignorant as I have no idea what the gothic American look is. 😦 Big Ross fan. I can't wait to read what Elna gets up to and I love your activities. I am also feeling decidedly overcommitted in March doing Mira's course AND the chapter book challenge! Woohoo to us all!

  13. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Woo-hoo indeed! 🙂 Have fun with the course. I'm doing the chapter book challenge too, but I kind of forgot I was going to have a house full of kids this month… not sure how much work I'm going to get done 🙂

  14. Beth Stilborn says:

    This book sounds like great fun! I can't believe it, but I've actually managed to comment on all the PPBF posts this week. It's a while since I've been able to do that. I just noticed Joanna's comment below mine. I'm feeling quite overcommitted this month as well, and may have to cut back in some areas, such as PPBF, for a brief while. I'm really putting a push on to get some solid work done and “out there” and that means some of the fun stuff may have to take a back seat for a while. I'll be back when I can. Hope you'll understand!

  15. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I DO understand completely, Beth, and am feeling the same way – pushed for time and needing to spend more on getting stuff out there. I'm sure you've noticed I haven't commented as much on your blog lately – not because I'm not reading or don't want to – just rushing! Best of luck with all your work and projects and submissions!!! Do keep me posted 🙂

  16. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Beth Stilborn (unregistered) wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    Thanks SO much for understanding, Susanna. I will definitely keep you posted. 🙂

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