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By V. Gilbert Zabel
Publisher: 4RV Publishing LLC

Family, everyone child needs one.

Buddy is a little boy with big dreams; he wants to be a cowboy when he grows up.  Like all children, all he needs is encouragement, love, and time…too bad that’s missing from his life.  His father tries.  His older brother ignores him.  His mother hates him.  Thank goodness for neighbour Caleb and his family.

Starting in the winter of 1899 and moving through to the summer of 1912, “Prairie Dog Cowboy” is one child’s journey from neglected insignificance to acceptance to belonging.  It is also a quiet reminder that we all matter, that we do make a difference.

Ms. Zabel’s touching story is a delight for any age.  At times I was reading a cattle raising, horse breaking, do-what-needs-doing western-set story and, at another time, a child’s story reminiscent of “Little House on the Prairie” (boy style).

There was always a level of disquiet just under the surface of Buddy’s tale.  How could his mother blame him, from infanthood onwards, for her unsatisfactory life?  Why didn’t his father do more?  Who loves Buddy?  Yet, even through this there was strength, love, hope, and Buddy.

Buddy is an exceptional character.  We meet him at age 5 and leave him at age 18.  Throughout these years we are allowed to watch him grow from a wishing, eager, trusting child to a solid, compassionate, thinking young man.  There’s something about Buddy that speaks volumes and inspires his readers to do more for those around them.

Ms. Zabel is a remarkable storyteller.