February 19, 2008
Walker Books for Young Readers
Illustrated by Roxie Munro
Hardcover Edition shown at left
It was a hard and rugged life on the Texas Frontier of the 1820s. Bandits robbed and pillaged at will. Native tribes raided ranches and farms with impunity. Texas was then a colony of Mexico and the Mexican government was powerless to help these citizens. So Governor Stephen Austin called for a special group of volunteers to “range” the frontier whenever trouble arose. Modeled after the famous Minute Men of the American Revolution, these men took up arms whenever a threat arose and protected the lives and property of Texas citizens until the threat had passed. This is how the Texas Rangers were born.
In this beautifully illustrated book, young readers will learn the thrilling history of this band of famous lawmen from their earliest days as a ragtag band of volunteers to modern times where crimes are solved using the latest technologies and scientific methods. It’s a delightful romp through nearly 200 years of Ranger history.
Life on the vast Texas frontier of the 1820s was hard and rugged. Living on small ranches and farms, settlers were often attacked by bandits and raided by Indians. As more people moved onto to the Texas plains, the Native tribes became angry over losing their lands and would often attack farms and ranches. Unable to protect themselves, Texians demanded that governor Stephen F. Austin do something.
Texas was then a part of Mexico but the government in Mexico City was too far away to offer help. Austin would have to solve this problem alone.
Austin recalled a group of volunteer soldiers that served in the American Revolutionary War. Quickly leaving their homes and shops, they gathered up their weapons and marched off to battle. They were called ‘Minute Men’ because they were ready to fight in a minute’s notice.
Governor Austin decided Texas needed its own ‘Minute Men.’ These volunteers would ‘range’ the frontier to defend Texas whenever danger arose. When the threat was past, the ‘ranging companies’ would be disbanded, and the volunteers would return to their homes.
In 1823, Governor Austin called the first Ranger Company to duty to defend Texians. Each Ranger provided his own horse and gun. The colonial government supplied ammunition and food for the men and horses whenever possible. Uniforms were not required. Each man dressed for duty as he pleased. This is how the Texas Rangers were born.
like it? get it!
to entice youngsters and keep them turning the pages."
Rangers: Legendary Lawmen is an amazing
children's picturebook about the legendary Texas Rangers, lawmen who worked to protect fellow
citizens from the hazards of frontier life in the 1820s. The Rangers were
also present at key moments of Texas history, such as the defense of the
Alamo along with heroes such as Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie, and their
espionage of the Mexican army during the war for independence. The simple
illustrations add life and color to this fascinating tribute, which offers
glimpse of what the life of an Old West lawman was really like. 'Ranger
Gonzaullas eventually rose to the rank of captain. He believed in using
scientific methods such as fingerprints to capture outlaws, and he started
the first modern laboratory for crime detection in Texas. He went on to
solve some of the most famous crimes in Texas history.' Highly
this to children who have a strong interest in Texas history or the Wild
"Paying handsome tribute to the doughty crew that brought the rule
of law to some of the wildest parts of the Wild West, Spradlin profiles such
prominent Rangers as William A.A. “Big Foot” Wallace and Captain
Leander McNelly. He also highlights achievements from the battle of the Alamo
to the capture of John Wesley Hardin and the ambush of Bonnie and Clyde. A sense
of the wide-open spaces they patrolled comes through clearly in Munro’s
outdoorsy scenes. Mustachioed and well-armed Rangers face Comanche raiders, Mexican
soldiers, bands of desperados and oil boomtown rowdies in a variety of settings
with the same air of calm competence. Though the modern Rangers get a nod at
the end, the focus here is really on their first century of existence (they were
founded in 1823)—still, they seldom get their due in titles for younger
readers, and this makes the best short introduction since
"Beginning with the 1823 founding of the Rangers to protect settlers on the rugged frontier, this picture book spans the years to highlight skirmishes with Indian tribes, the Mexican Army, and a passel of notorious outlaws. Munro's colorful paintings vivify these celebrated law keepers, providing glimpses of the incidents, individuals and vast Texas terrain."
The history of the world is made up of millions of stories. Some of them are big and some are small. But in most cases we find that history is changed when men and women make a decision to be a part of something that is greater than themselves.
When I’m writing non-fiction for young readers I’m looking for a story that is not only exciting but has a beginning, middle and an end. When I began researching Texas Rangers: Legendary Lawmen, I found enough stories to fill up ten books. The hardest part really was trying to cull nearly two hundred years of history down to one thirty two page picture book.
But who knows? There are plenty more Texas Ranger stories and maybe there will be another book some day.