Cow Boy: A Boy and His Horse

Cow Boy: A Boy and His HorseCow Boy: A Boy and His Horse
By: Nate Cosby and Chris Eliopoulos
Published by: BOOM! Studios/Archaia Entertainment
Format: Hardcover, 6 x 9, 96 pages, Full Color, $19.95
ISBN: 978-1-936393-67-1

From cover to cover this graphic novel has it all. A bold and engaging character. A witty plot. Animated settings. Explosive action. Unpredictable twists and turns. And, most importantly, an unlimited readership. Any reader will enjoy Cow Boy: A Boy and His Horse. Great for schools, libraries, families, and book groups of any type this graphic novel is more than a conversation starter. It's a never-ending conversation instigator, for our ten-year old bounty hunter-cowboy is bound and determined not only to perform his job well and at a young age, but also to put his unruly, lawbreaking family members behind bars.  

Family or not, right is right and wrong is wrong. Or so our main character claims. His line of reasoning, though, is sometimes suspicious. Is he seeking out his kin because a good bounty hunter seeks to put all the bad guys behind bars? Or, conversation continued, is he seeking out his bounty hunter pay day? Family or not, Boyd is both a respectable law-abiding citizen and a little man with a financial plan.  

Oh, and P.S. - If you're rotting in jail like some of Boyd's family members or simply have some extra time on your hands until he finds you, this graphic novel has some unexpected nuggets of gold hidden within its pages (short graphic stories just waiting to tell their own tales of ruckus in the Old West).   

English Language Arts Elements of Story

Plot: Bounty hunter-cowboy Boyd is a man with a plan, a plan to put all law-breaking citizens (even his own family members) behind bars

Setting: the Old West (Hickory), Saloon, Sheriff's Office, Unpleasant Gulch, the Wireless West, Hogswallow Creek, Marshal's Office, the barn, Linney household, Suenos Rotos, The Nugget, Granpappy’s cabin in the woods

Major Characters: Boyd Linney, Dub Linney, the Man with No Underpants, Big Bill Pantywaist, Porky the Pig, Boyd's Mama (Margo Linney), Saloon Tender, Sheriff, Marshal, the three bullies in the barn, man in the barn, Yellow Rose and Black Billy, Zeke Linney, the Penguin cowboy and his female cowgirl partner, Kelly, Granpappy

Themes: Coming of Age, Family, Pride, Justice, Decision-making, Individualism

Traditional and Contemporary Literary Pairing Suggestions: Jeff Smith's Bone series, William Golding's Lord of the Flies, S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders, Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn and/or Tom Sawyer, Kazu Kibuishi's Amulet series, Louis Sachar's Holes, Royden Lepp and Rebecca Taylor's Rust, Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado's Giants Beware!, Doug TenNapel's Cardboard, Ben Hatke's Zita the Spacegirl

Some Teaching Recommendations For Middle and High School Readers

Suggested Alignment to the Common Core Standards:*
*Standard numbers correspond to the literal common core standards numbers, www.commoncorestandards.com

Craft and Structure
4. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
5. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.
6. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.

Lesson Idea for Fifth Grade Readers and Above:

Directions: Ask students to think about the craft and structure of Cowboy: A Boy and His Horse by working through the following figure, which will help them pinpoint details from the text and the images that highlight some of the main character's purposes, motivations, or points of view in the story.

Character's Name

Identifying and Key Word Quotations from this Character

Identifying and Key Images (page # or redraw) of this Characters



Character's Purpose, Motivation, or Point of View


Boyd Linney








Dub Linney







Zeke Linney







Granpappy Linney







Katie Monnin, PhD, is an assistant professor of literacy at the University of North Florida and author of Teaching Graphic Novels: Practical Strategies for the Secondary ELA Classroom (2010) from Maupin House. To learn more about Teaching Graphic Novels or Katie Monnin, please go to this link: http://www.maupinhouse.com/monnin.php.