Written by Buck Buchanan
Illustrated by Christina Wald
Where did the story of Denni-Jo come from? I’m glad you asked! One day a couple of friends and I were playing music together. Some were songs I had written. This little cowgirl, named Denni-Jo came over and asked, “Can you write a song about me?” I told her I thought I could, so I found a pen and paper and started writing a few lines. When it was time for my friends and I to go, I gathered up my notes and put them in my guitar case thinking I would finish it when I got home.
Later, I learned she had asked her grandmother, “When is he going to finish that song about me?” Her grandmother said, “Honey, sometimes it takes a long time to write a song.” Denni-Jo looked up at her and asked, “Do I have to be as old as you before he is finished!!!
Well, I actually finished the song in a few weeks and played it for her the next time I saw her.
After writing the song I started thinking about all the things I had seen and done growing up on a cattle ranch. I thought some of those stories might be interesting to people who were not raised on a ranch. After all, like Denni-Jo says on the very first page of the book “it doesn’t matter if you are a boy or a girl, big or small; everyone pitches in and does their share.”
On a working cattle ranch, girls and boys are taught the same skills. They can ride, rope, and help look after sick livestock, all of it. That is why Denni-Jo is the main character in this book. She is a lot like the strong ranch women I have known. They all grew up learning everything required to maintain a successful ranch.
I sure hope you enjoy the book. - Buck Buchanan