- Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa
- Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Partners
- Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: School Days
- Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Rain or Shine
- Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Horse in the House
- Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Spring Babies
Links: Author Site || Teacher’s Guide
Awards: 2006 Geisel Honor (Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa), 2010 Cybils Finalist (Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Spring Babies), 2008 Monarch Nominee (Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Partners)
Reviews: School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Horn Book, Library Media Connection
These are definitely your upper-end beginning readers, perfect for the kids developing confidence on their own but still feeling overwhelmed by an early chapter series like Magic Treehouse or Junie B. Jones.
The book feature integrated text and images, short sentences with building vocabulary, and dialogue. The first book has words that are harder and more complex (thirsty was one that stood out to me), as well as a fair amount of ranching terminology (rope, pasture, cowhorse, etc.) which may require a bit more work for readers unfamiliar with horses.
Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa books contain four short chapters, each one tells a complete story. I broke down the first book by chapter: A Story for Cocoa has 101 unique words, The Surprise has 92 unique words, Counting Cows has 101 unique words, and Bedtime in the Barn has 116 unique words.
Every book in the series is available on both Lexile and Accelerated Reader: average of 352L and 2.3AR.
I think this series is a good choice for readers that have moved on from Henry and Mudge or Elephant and Piggie. The difference here is that Kate and Cocoa’s relationship switches from feisty to caregiving; with both cowgirl and cowhorse taking care of the other at one point or another.
The books also work well as a read-aloud, each chapter can be done at a single reading. Bedtime in the Barn would make a particularly timely bedtime story, with the potential to make parents laugh as Cocoa pulls the “I’m hungry”, “I’m thirsty” cards to stay up later.
More Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa?
In the last few years, Houghton Mifflin has re-released some of the Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa stories under their Green Light Readers series. Each “new” book contains two stories from the previously released book. Lexile levels are slightly up at 365L based on 4 books and Accelerated Reader is down slightly with 2.2AR based on 2 books.
Dates to Remember
Nothing that I can see on the horizon, though I hope we haven’t seen the last of this dynamic duo.