PB 14:14 Day 2 – Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads

If you haven’t heard, I’m doing my favorite kind of homework… studying picture books!  For the Picture Books 14:14 Challenge, I’m choosing a picture book each day for two weeks and looking into how they exemplify one of the Top 10 Story Elements for Picture Books.  Today’s pick?  Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads for its smart and endearing use of dialogue.

Kid SheriffTitle: Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads

Author: Bob Shea

Illustrator: Lane Smith

Publisher: Roaring Book Press, 2014


Everything about this story is wonderfully silly, from the moment the young new sheriff comes riding into town… slowly… on his tortoise.  When the mayor asks what qualifies him to be the sheriff, he answers simply:

I know a really lot about dinosaurs.

The Toad Brothers are wreaking criminal havoc on the town, but the sheriff uses his dinosaur knowledge to convince everyone that it must be dinosaurs committing the crimes until the Toads are so dismayed for not getting credit for their thievery that they walk themselves right into the jail.

The plot is already strong and silly, but it’s the dialogue that really amps up the tension in the conflict while also revealing character for the clever sheriff and the dimwitted criminals and adding fun dialect and wordplay.

For example, after a stagecoach robbery, the mayor asks if it was the Toad Brothers, to which the sheriff answers:

Nope.  Velociraptors.  Whole mess a them.  Confused your stagecoach with a lumbering Protoceratops, I reckon.  Honest mistake.

Dialogue shows the Toad Brothers’ increasing frustration at the blame falling on the dinosaurs:

What?  That ain’t right.  We done robbed those! […] And weren’t no try-lollipops kissin’ them cattle neither.  Why I smooched them beefy lips my own self!

The sheriff runs with their frustrations:

Well, I reckon I could arrest you for being such a plumb nuisance, but I need this here jail for the real criminals.  Dinosaurs are mighty big.

He’s tricked the Toads into imprisoning themselves, and his sharp banter about dinosaurs has tricked the rest of the town, too.  The sheriff is ready to ride… slowly… off into the sunset when the mayor asks if he would consider staying as the town’s paleontologist.

“Sorry, Mayor,” said Sheriff Ryan.  “I’m a lawman.”

Hope you enjoy this silly yet smart story as much as I did!



Filed under Picture Books

16 responses to “PB 14:14 Day 2 – Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads

  1. ManjuBeth

    Hi, Laura! Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads is new to me. Thanks for sharing the humor in this story.

  2. doriskstone

    Hi Laura! Thanks for sharing “Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads.” I can’t wait to read it!

  3. Love the sound of this book! (And, on a side note, how did you get the quotes in shaded boxes? I would love to start using that.)

  4. Well that would be a wonderful read aloud here in Texas! It it just sounds like too much fun. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Great choice for dialogue! I think the use of vocabulary and phrasing also helps really set the tone for the story.

  6. Christie Wright Wild

    Great example! I love learning about new books. And good ol’ cowboy drawls are so much fun to read! It’s hard to narrow it down to just one element, so I like how you mentioned how dialogue plays into character, conflict, and word play, too.

    P.S. I’m still waiting to hear back about my new job prospect in Asheville. Should know something by Wednesday! I’d be working so close to the Pack Library that I could walk there ever day on my lunch break! (And that’s just a skip away from Malaprops too!)

    P.S.S. Not all the “quote” inserts for blogger and wordpress work the same. I think it depends on the theme you choose, too. Looks very cool!

    • Thanks, Christie. Let me know what you hear about the Asheville job prospect! Pack and Malaprops lunchbreaks sound amazing, and I could probably join you for them on occasion. 🙂
      And thanks for adding that info about the quote inserts!

  7. Ha! Love the “tri-lollipops” quote. This was a great review of the dialogue that so often raises a picture book to the top! Thanks Laura for highlighting this one.

  8. OMG. This books sounds like a riot. I’ve gotta get my hands on this one.

  9. Definitely a great example of how dialogue can really bring out the character! Thanks! I like the quote about smooching beefy lips! haha
    I can’t believe you are from Granville, OH! That’s awesome! I performed at the library there a few years ago! 🙂 I too checked out your About Me page and it sounds like we have a LOT in common — Ohio roots, a love for PBs and writing, traveling/living abroad, Spanish language. . and that’s just to get started. I’m so glad to have met you thru this challenge, and I hope we can keep in touch!

  10. Thanks, Lindsay! I love that you performed at the Granville Library. My mom retired from working there a few years ago – I’ll ask if she was there when you came! It does sound like we’ve got mucho en común… I’m glad to have met you too, and look forward to hearing more about all the amazing things you’re doing!

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