Why Cowboys Sleep with Their Boots On

One of the books I used to read to my kids when they were tots was Why Cowboys Sleep with Their Boots On, about a cowpuncher named Slim Jim Watkins; written by Laurie Lazzaro Knowlton and illustrated by James Rice.

I liked this story because I could relate to Slim Jim Watkins and I liked it when he’d say, “Dern!” He lost things while he slept, which I’m sure is exactly how I lose things too. I am always looking for my chapstick, keys, sunglasses, wallet, coffee mug, gum, or any other necessary item I feel that I have to have with me in the car. The only difference between Slim Jim Watkins and me is that I usually don’t say “Dern!” but something else when I go to look in the place where I thought I left something and it’s not there.

In the story, every night Slim Jim Watkins goes to bed out on the range and while he sleeps different articles of clothing walk off during the night. He is always in a dilemma the next day trying to get by without his missing article of clothing.

He lost his pants,


his bandana,


his hat,


and almost his boots.


I always thought Slim Jim Watkins and I shared a lot of the same facial expressions:

The pictures foretold what animal was going to take off with Slim Jim’s belongings and pointing the animals out was one of my kids’ favorite parts of the book. My favorite part was being able to get through the book before I fell asleep.

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