Winner of the “2002 Storyteller Award” by Western Writers of America
“Strap Buckner was a man of genius and his genius was to knock folks down!” This sentence provides readers with their first glimpse of the legend, who in real life was one of the “First Three Hundred” original settlers of the state of Texas. Thanks to Wooldridge’s discovery of this “lovable, ornery, sentimental, bigger-than-life, stronger-than-strong, braggart of a man,” Strap Buckner joins the ranks of folk heroes like Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill. And like them, Strap did exactly what American folk characters often do – he made a very big mistake. When pride gets the better of him, he rashly challenges the devil to a contest.
The book also includes an afterword that explains the story’s roots in Texas history.
“I will conquer thee with my own great strength and with help from neither man nor Providence,” he vowed. He used one iron fist as a springboard for the Devil and gave a mighty heave. The Devil coiled up to the cloud and unhooked his tail. When he bounced back to earth, he saw pride in Strap’s eyes and heard the echo of it in his boast. There’s nothing weakens a man who’s facing the Devil more than pride, and nobody knows that better than the Devil himself. “Skin for skin, Strap Buckner,” he said. And the battle commenced.
“…Wooldridge relates her colorful tall tale with gusto and swagger, peppering it with piquant descriptions (“swifter than a Texas wind”) and folksy expressions (“Day had a time of it trying to dawn”). – Publishers Weekly
“It’s the bluster and brawl kids will like most–and the comic, action-packed illustrations that make lively caricatures of everyone: settlers, Indians, Strap, and even the Devil himself. …a spirited regional offering.” – American Library Association’s Booklist
The Legend of Strap Buckner, A Texas Tale
Adapted by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge
Illustrated by Andrew Glass
Published by Holiday House (2001)
Picture Book; Grades 3-5
ISBN #0823415368 (hardcover)