WHITE DYNAMITE AND CURLY KIDD by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault; illustrated by Ted Rand (Holt, Rinehart & Winston: $11.95; 32 pp.; ages 5-8). This is not something to read to your children just before bedtime unless you want them wound up like banshees. The narrative here is rousing as a pep rally and meant to be yelled aloud so GET READY. Curly Kidd is a famous rodeo star ready to try his luck on the back of White Dynamite, "the meanest bull in the whole United States." As Curly tears out of the chute, listen to his kid, Lucky, who is perched on top of the corral fence in chaps, boots and Stetson:
"Oh! Dad's in the rocker now . . . floppin' back and forth! His head's goin' south! Bull's goin' north . . . Gone plumb dumb wild! KAN-sas, TEX-as, U-tah, MAINE . . . twistin' like a corkscrew straight down the right-away. His middle name's Doomsday! U! S! A!" Try that on a couple of 6-year-olds and watch them pitch right in, just as if they were leaning over that rodeo fence themselves.
The text is mostly Lucky's excited monologue interspersed with Dad's "Yep," "Nope," and "Me too" answers. He fits the stereotype of our American cowboy: lean, pensive, spare with words but with a heart soft enough for a child to love. Perhaps to emphasize this spareness, the authors omit the traditional he-said-and-she-said qualifiers which makes the dialogue sections a bit awkward to read aloud. It takes dramatic pauses and some raising and lowering of the voice to let the child know who is speaking.