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THE LEGEND OF STRAP BUCKNER by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge


A Texas Tale

adapted by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge & illustrated by Andrew Glass

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 2001
ISBN: 0-8234-1536-8
Publisher: Holiday House

Strap Buckner was one of the original Old Three Hundred to settle Texas with Stephen Austin, and legend rose around him to compete with his serious size. He’d thump a welcoming hand on the back of a fella and send him sprawling. Here, Wooldridge (Wicked Jack, 1995, etc.) and Glass (Mountain Men, p. 659, etc.) concoct a truly larger-than-life character who wallops every man he meets, every time, always with “great grace,” if tinged with a touch of bombast and bravado. Wooldridge has an excellent way with words: “ ‘It is ever thus with a man of genius,’ he lamented. ‘To be misunderstood, shunned, avoided by the common folk of the world!’ ” This after his townspeople start to fade into the shadows whenever he appears. Glass depicts Strap in oafish counterpoint to Wooldridge’s windbaggery, with an unruly mop of red hair and a ponderous gut. Strap moves from town to town, ultimately to be circumvented every time, until his better side advises him to seek peace and forsake his genius to clobber. “But the devil never can let a man’s good resolve go unchallenged.” Soon Strap is hurling a dare to fight all comers—and readers are ready to see the boaster come down a peg or two. The Infernal Fiend takes up Strap’s offer—“He saw pride in Strap’s eyes and heard the echo of it in Strap’s boast”—and succeeds in taking the tar out of Strap. A robust and high-humored version of the Strap Buckner legend, full of the over-the-top yarning now associated with Texas. (author’s note, bibliography) (Picture book. 4-8)