and the Tornado Twistin’
4th of July Celebration
illustrated by Carolyn Altman
Genre: Children’s Picture Book / Western / Fantasy
Date of Publication: September 28, 2018
Number of Pages: 50
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Hitchin’ Post, the cowboy jackrabbit, is back with an all new adventure on the 6Bs’Ranch.
Hitch’s brothers come to visit for the annual 4th of July rodeo and dance, but they get much more than a long-awaited visit with their brother. When a giant tornado threatens to cut their Independence Day celebration short, Hitchin’ Post, his brothers, and the rest of the cowboys have to work hard to save the ranch and the celebration. Hitchin’ Post shows that even though he is just a small jackrabbit, he has the courage it takes to bring everyone together to rebuild what the tornado destroyed. Because of old Hitch being a great leader, the 6Bs’ 4th of July celebration will go on!
This is the second book in the Hitchin’ Post series by Julie Barker, where Julie once again collaborates with her mother, artist Carolyn Altman, who provides the illustrations in this romping, stomping cowboy adventure!
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:
Hitchin’ Post and the Tornado Twistin’ 4th of July Celebration is a brilliantly woven story with a strong plot that will easily entertain anyone. The illustrations by Carolyn Altman are fun and engaging, complementing the story. I love how Barker has written an interesting story that will teach kids how working together as a team makes the hard work a whole lot lighter and much more rewarding. – Readers’ Favorite, 5 STARS
My son and I enjoyed reading the first Hitchin’ Post book, so I was very excited to learn that Barker and Altman teamed up to create a second book. And much like Book 1, Hitchin’ Post and the Tornado Twistin’ 4th of July Celebration serves up a story with big heart and illustrations that make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.
At face value, this is a cute cowboy book starring an adorable rabbit; but it has so much more than that. It tells the story of a rabbit who takes pride in his work and his country. It addresses deep-rooted relationships that don’t weaken by distance and time apart. We get to see the intuition of the youngest character and teamwork at its finest – both rabbit and human cowboys accomplishing the impossible. From sadness to elation, to the little guy coming out on top, this book has it all.
I think that old and young readers alike will enjoy Altman’s artistic style as it is easy on the eyes. You won’t see any of the harsh lines and psychedelic colors that seem to be the norm with picture books today. However, I found the random placement of the red, white, and blue banner that says, “6Bs’ 4th of July Celebration” distracting. At first I thought it was part of the story, perhaps the backdrop of that particular scene. But as I read on, it really felt like someone didn’t like to leave any white space and just pasted the banner up willy nilly.
I also felt confident going in that my 6-year-old had grown up enough to really appreciate this book, but I guess that Book 2 ran a little longer than Book 1. He only made it about a fourth of the way through before I was reading aloud to myself. Much like the original Hitchin’ Post book, some of the rhyming schemes got away from me. There were times where I wished that the book was written in prose instead, but then the last stanza changed my mind:
“Hitch would never forget that moment at the 6Bs’
standing with his brothers and filled with joy.
He was so proud to be an American,
but more than that, proud to be a cowboy.”
I recommend this book for grades 1-4 and think that it would be a great anticipatory set to lessons on Independence Day. I could also see a family sitting near a campfire or barbecue grill reading this story while they wait for the burgers and ribs to cook up nice. I look forward to reading the next Hitchin’ Post book.
Julie Barker is the author of Hitchin’ Post, her debut children’s storybook. With inspiration from her West Texas roots and being surrounded by the ranching heritage, Julie is fulfilling her dream of becoming a children’s author. Along with the encouragement and beautiful illustrations from her mother and artist, Carolyn Altman, the story of Hitchin’ Post the cowboy jackrabbit was born and is now officially a series. The second book, Hitchin’ Post and the Tornado Twistin’ 4th of July Celebration, was released September 2018.
Carolyn Altman is an artist and the illustrator of the Hitchin’ Post children’s book series, in which she collaborated with her daughter, Julie Barker, the author. Carolyn resides in Vernon, Texas, with her husband Stanley. They have two daughters and six grandchildren, all of whom live nearby. “Touch the Heart with Original Art” is Carolyn’s slogan, which she has used for the past 40 years as she creates lighthearted and inspiring art with subjects such as wildlife, horses, cattle, and cowboys, in hopes of helping to preserve this way of life for many years to come.
The beginning of her art career consisted of using mostly oil and acrylic mediums, then Carolyn began creating baby memory books in which she incorporates her art into each page. Each baby memory book is personalized and truly a work of art in itself. Carolyn believes that her experiences throughout her life are what inspires her art.
She has spent her life in West Texas surrounded by wide open spaces and the beauty of the farming and ranching heritage, and that way of life will always show up in her paintings and illustrations. Her latest creations include a series of angel paintings depicting what she deems most important in her life — her faith.
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