Ride and Read

By Jeanette Larson

Books to Share

  • The Baby-Sitters Wore Diapers by H.B. Homzie.
  • Bicycle Madness by Jane Kurtz.
  • The Horse in the Attic by Eleanor Clymer.
  • Inline Skater by Matt Christopher.
  • Scooter by Vera Williams.
  • Skateboard Mom by Barbara Odanaka.

Books to Show or Booktalk

  • Arnie and the Skateboard Gang by Nancy Carlson.
  • Birthday Pony by Jessie Haas.
  • The Kingfisher Illustrated Horse and Pony Encyclopedia by Sandy Lansford and Bob Langrish.
  • The Racecar Alphabet by Brian Floca.
  • Summer Wheels by Eve Bunting.

Bulletin Board

Tour de Library

Use Ellison die-cuts to create racecars, horses, bicycles, skateboards, and roller skates in various colors. Use a die-cut or the pattern providedto create yellow t-shirts and add book titles to the shirts. Scatter the items on the bulletin board and add the caption, “Tour de Library.” Make it a true tour of the library by including titles from various sections of the library’s collection.


Ride ‘Em!

Borrow horseback riding gear to display. Be sure to add books about horses and horseback riding to the display.


Make Haystack Cookies. Melt 12 ounces of chocolate or butterscotch chips over a low heat or use a double boiler. After the candy has melted, stir in a 12-ounce can of crunchy Chinese noodles and one cup of cocktail peanuts. Use a spoon to drop the haystacks onto waxed paper. Allow the cookies to cool before serving. Many alternate recipes are available for this no-bake treat, so if you want to include marshmallows, coconut, or other ingredients search Cooks.com for ideas. Another version of this cookie recipe is also included in the Toddler Chapter of this manual.


Dover Publications sells inexpensive sticker and game books. Try Classic Racing Car Stickers and Fun with Horseback Riding Stencils.

Rhymes and Poetry

One-One Was A Racehorse


One-One was a racehorse

Two-Two was one too

One-One won one race.

Two-Two won one too

Recite this tongue twister poem aloud rapidly. Can the kids figure out that there are two racehorses?

Audio Recordings

  • “Go Speed Racer” on Cool Songs for Cool Kids by Daddy a Go Go.
  • “Red Wagon” on Big Kid by Sara Hickman.
  • “Wheels” on Around the World and Back Again by Tom Chapin.


Tell Pecos Bill stories. “Pecos Bill Rides a Tornado” explains how bronco riding started, while “Pecos Bill Teaches the Cowboys to Play” tells how rodeoing began. This story is available in Pecos Bill: The Greatest Cowboy of All Time by James Cloyd Bowman.

Pecos Bill Rides a Tornado

(Traditional. Retold by Jeanette Larson.)

Everyone in the Texas knows that Pecos Bill could ride anything. There weren’t no bronco that could throw him! Fact is, I only once heard of Bill getting’ thrown in his whole life as a cowboy. Yep, he was way up near Wichita Falls when he decided to ride a tornado.

Now Bill wasn’t gonna ride just any ole tornado, no siree Bob! He waited until he saw the biggest gosh-darned tornado anyone had ever seen. The sky was turning green and black and the clouds were piling high. The wind started roaring so loud that it woke up the farmers all the way across the ocean. But Bill, he just grabbed that tornado, pushed it down onto the ground and jumped on its back. That tornado whipped and whooshed and whirled and side winded. It tossed and turned and spun and spit. It ran Bill all the way down to San Antonio! That tornado tied the rivers into knots, flattened all the trees, and cut a path as wide as a highway. But Bill hung on and kept riding all calm-like. In fact, once in awhile, he’d give that ole tornado a jab with his spurs just to get it madder!

Finally, that tornado understood it wasn’t getting this cowboy off its back any way or any how. So the tornado headed west to California dumping a bunch of rain on the way. The tornado dumped so much rain that the Grand Canyon filled up! When the tornado was down to practically nothing, Bill finally fell off. The place where he hit the ground sank down so low it was now below sea level. And people today call that spot Death Valley.

Anyway, that’s how rodeo riding got started. But if you try it today, stick to riding broncos!


Box Cars


  • Assorted empty boxes and containers, such as individual packages of cereal, milk cartons, shoe boxes
  • Styrofoam egg cartons
  • Toilet paper tubes
  • Aluminum foil
  • Scissors
  • Clear cellophane
  • Plastic straws
  • Construction paper
  • Crayons or markers
  • Scotch tape
  • Stickers (optional)


Thoroughly clean and dry the styrofoam egg cartons. Provide the materials for the children and let each make their own racecar. The boxes can be used for the body of the car. Egg carton sections or slices of toilet paper tubes decorated with aluminum foil may be attached with straws for wheels and hubcaps. Clear cellophane can be taped onto construction paper for the windshield. The kids can decorate their car with racecar stickers from Smilemakers or with assorted stickers that you have on hand. Provide the resources and the kids will be creative!

Games and Activities

Bike Decorations

Invite the children to bring their bicycles to the library to decorate. Provide crepe paper streamers in a variety of colors. Each child wraps the handlebars and other parts with crepe paper, taping the start and ending points. They can also weave the crepe paper through the spokes.

Bicycle Rodeo

Hold a bicycle rodeo. Family Fun at http://familyfun.go.com/games/indoor-outdoor-games/feature/famf0600backfun/famf0600backfun4.html provides all the information needed to prepare the rodeo arena for calf roping, barrel racing, and more riding games.

Guest Speakers

Check with the police or emergency services department in your city or county for someone who can talk about bicycle and skateboard safety.


If you have public performance rights, show these videos and DVDs, or segments of them, to the children. Otherwise, display them for home use.

  • “Buster and the Daredevils” on D. W. the Picky Eater. (15 minutes)
  • Curious George Rides a Bike. (10.5 minutes)
  • The Mouse and the Motorcycle. (42 minutes)
  • Totally Rad. (75 minutes)


  • Backyard Skateboarding.
  • Hot Wheels Interactive: Stunt Track Driver 2.
  • NASCAR Thunder.


Young Rider.

Web Sites

Candy Stand
Kraft Foods hosts a kid-friendly assortment of on-line games that includes games featuring in-line skating, street skating, and stunt bike riding.

Up to Ten
The games and activities for kids from ages 6-10 include several on-line races played with the keyboard.

Professional Resources

Pecos Bill: The Greatest Cowboy of All Time by James Cloyd Bowman.

All-American Soap Box Derby
Check this site to find a Derby group near your community.

This site offers a searchable database of recipes.

Dover Publications
This publisher offers a variety of inexpensive sticker and activity books to use as incentives.

Family Fun
Ideas for arts, crafts, and fun activities.

Purchase inexpensive stickers to use for crafts or as incentives.


Texas Reading Club 2006 Programming Manual / Reading: The Sport of Champions!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011