Looking for the best western & rodeo books for preschool? Check out our favorites that are sure to be a hit with your cowgirls and cowboys!
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BOOK LIST: WESTERN/RODEO
Yee-Haw! It’s time to head to the rodeo! I live in the southwestern part of the United States, so going to the rodeo is a big deal for us. Our schools even take off two days every February for “Rodeo Days.” It’s a huge part of our cultural tradition!
If you’re doing a western or rodeo theme this year, here’s an amazing list of books you’ll want to incorporate with your littles. This list includes both fiction & nonfiction options.
Get your cowboy hat, round up your horse, and get ready to read!
WESTERN & RODEO BOOKS FOR PRESCHOOL: FICTION
These fiction books are perfect for read alouds for your preschool classroom or at home with your own littles. Most of them are pretty funny, so get ready for some laughs!
Cowboy Car: This one is my son’s favorite! This story is all about Little Car, a city car who has always dreamed of being a cowboy. When he’s old enough, he heads out west and meets a cowboy named Dusty, who teaches him all about being a cowboy. Even though Little Car can’t be in the rodeo himself (because he can’t ride a horse!), he still finds a way to help Dusty and becomes a cowboy hero.
If I Had a Horse: This book made it onto our list because of its beautiful, unique illustrations. They look like shadows, but each page has a different color to it. They’re hard for me to describe in words, so you’re definitely going to want to check them out for yourself! This story is about one kid’s dream of having a horse & all of the things they would do together.
Rodeo Red: This is the cutest story about a girl named Rodeo Red, who loves being a cowgirl! When a new guy arrives in town (Sideswiping Slim, her new little brother), Red has a hard time adjusting. And when Slim takes Red’s best friend, Rusty (her stuffed animal), Red has to go on an adventure to get Rusty back. This book is hilarious for both kids and parents!
Where Does a Cowgirl Go Potty?: This is another funny story that preschoolers will love! The cowgirl in this story is looking for a place to go to the bathroom, so she asks the dog on the ranch where she should go. He tells her she can go in the pasture, but once she’s there, the horse stops her and says that’s where he goes potty. He sends her to a canyon, but another animal stops her and sends her somewhere else. This goes on and on in the book, until she finally finds a potty on the rancher’s private property. Kids will just love the silliness of this book!
Favorite Stories from Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: We love this book series by Erica Silverman and Betsy Lewin (Betsy Lewin is also the illustrator of Giggle Giggle Quack, another one of our favorites!) In this series, Cowgirl Kate and her best friend, Cocoa the talking horse, have lots of adventures and experiences together! Each book has two short stories in it around a certain theme.
Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch: This story is about Widow Jones, a woman who inherited 35 million dollars and a ranch in Texas. Once word gets around about her fortune, every cowboy in Texas wants to marry her…which leads to a hilarious story with lots of twists and turns!
Charlie the Ranch Dog: This story is written by The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. It’s all about her ranch dog, Charlie, an adorable basset hound with droopy eyes and floppy ears. It’s told from his perspective and is a sweet story about how he spends his days on the ranch.
Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch: This is the second story on our preschool rodeo books list with this title, but it’s completely different than the other story. In this story, Rancher Hicks and his wife, Elna, live on a ranch where nothing ever happens. One day, Rancher Hicks decides to go into town. While he’s away, the most amazing things happen to Elna…the cat has kittens, she wins a brand-new refrigerator, her great-aunt Edith leaves her a ton of money, she becomes a movie star, and MORE! While all of this is happening, Rancher Hicks is having the most boring day in town. It’s such a funny juxtaposition between the two characters and their days. We loved this one!
Every Cowgirl Goes to School: This is a great story for your rodeo theme, but it’s also perfect for back-to-school time. Nellie Sue is excited about her first day of school, but things don’t go as planned. She feels jealous that her best friend, Anna, made a new friend named Maya. After feeling left-out all day, Nellie Sue and Maya are able to become friends in the end. (This is just one of many books in this series about Nellie Sue.)
I Wanna Be a Cowgirl: This is the only rhyming book on our list, and it’s great for read alouds. The girl in the story wants to be a cowgirl and dreams about all of the things she’ll do. She uses her imagination and has a wonderful day doing all the things cowgirls do without leaving her own backyard.
WESTERN & RODEO BOOKS FOR PRESCHOOL: NONFICTION
These nonfiction books are perfect to learn more about horses, rodeos, and ranching. They’re not designed for read alouds, but as a way to share facts and information with your students just a little bit at a time.
Horses: This book is by Seymour Simon, who has written more than 300 science books for children. This type of book is considered a “photo essay.” It has large, beautiful photograph on one side of the page and text on the other, but it doesn’t have headings or a table of contents. Your littles will love looking at the pictures and learning more facts about horses from the text.
Barrel Racing: This nonfiction book is a great overview of barrel racing, one of the most popular events at a rodeo. The book gives information about the beginning of barrel racing, as well as barrel-racing champions, barrel-racing basics, and the racing life. There are great photographs throughout the book that compliment the text (and there is a lot of text per page, just as a head’s up!)
Rodeos: This book is a great overview to teach preschoolers about rodeos. There is only a little bit of text on each page, and there are large photographs to go along with the text. It gives information about the history of the rodeo, as well as what rodeo life is like nowadays.
At Home on the Ranch: This nonfiction book can actually be used as a read aloud because it’s very short and only has two sentences per page. The sentences are simple enough that beginning readers will be able to read them, too! This book gives information about what life is like on a ranch, along with big photographs on each page.
DK Eyewitness Horse: This is a reference book that will be fun for little ones to flip through! It has great information about horses, along with photographs, diagrams, and illustrations.
Bull Riding: This nonfiction book is from the same series at the Barrel Racing book above, and it’s a great overview of bull riding. The book gives information about the beginning of the rodeo, as well as information on bull riders, the basics of bull riding, and how bull riders are judged/scored. There are great photographs throughout the book that compliment the text (and there is a lot of text per page, just as a head’s up!)
Intro to Rodeo: This is a great nonfiction book that explains all about the rodeo. It is pretty long and has many sections and subsections, but it would be great to read one or two sections aloud at a time.
Horses: This is another fabulous book about horses, but this one is short enough to be used as a read aloud. It has large text and big, beautiful photographs throughout the book. The sentences are simple enough that beginning readers will be able to read them, too!
S’MORE WESTERN SNACK
After reading and learning about the west, there’s no better way to end the day than heading outside & making a s’more by the fire! If you don’t have a fire pit, you can simply melt the marshmallow and chocolate on your graham cracker in the microwave for about 15 seconds.
WAY OUT WEST PRINTABLES
If you’re looking for even more ways to bring your western or rodeo theme to life, check out my Way Out West printable pack for preschool and pre-k. It’s jam-packed with 20 hands-on activities for literacy & math that are guaranteed to get your little ones learning through play!
SHARE YOUR FAVORITES!
Do you have a favorite preschool rodeo or western book? Have you read any of these on our list? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Comment below or head over to Instagram (@littleslovelearningblog) and share there!
Need more ideas for your western theme? How about the other themes you’ll be teaching this year? Head to our THEMES page to check out all of our resources organized by theme.