Saturday, May 19, 2007

Nosh-Out at Dog City: Ten-Gallon Bart

Ten-Gallon Bart is a rip-roarin', ripoff spoof of early television Westerns, illustrated with textually inviting collages in double-page spreads which suggest the wide-open spaces.

Ten-Gallon Bart is the shaggy dog sheriff of Dog City, "brave, courageous, and bold," but he's serving his last day of duty when the morning paper, "The Daily Muzzle," flashes word that Billy the Kid, a goat with an outlaw appetite, is headed for town. Miss Kitty (a cat, natch), piggy deputies Wyatt Burp and Wild Bill Hiccup, Pixie and Dixie (chicks), and Buffalo Gal (some sort of bovine) beg Bart to protect their pansies from the omnivorous outlaw, but when "Baa-aa-aa-aa-d Billy" begins to toss down the town, Bart is the bold leader who finally bests the beast by jumping astride and taking a ride 'til Billy is plumb saddle broke!

Dust flies, and Billy coughs up all the contraband he's gobbled. When the dust settles, Billy is reformed, Miss Kitty, no scaredy cat, is rewarded with the job of sheriff, and Bart retires with a new fishing pole. Peaceful Dog City is now the scene of Friday night fish fries, and Billy the Kid dutifully does the dishes.

The TV Western allusions will probably amuse the grizzled older cowhand readers more than their pint-sized buckaroo listeners, but that's all to the good, since those little greenhorns are sure to want to see and hear this gloriously silly story over and over again.

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