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KID CLAY (W&B Publishers)

This story is a historical, western, adventure novel for middle graders and young adults based on the memoirs of the author's grandfather (Henry Carleton Clay) in which he describes his experiences as a teen cowboy during the time of the National Cattle Trail from 1880 to 1887.


All young boys dream about being a cowboy, driving herds of cattle across the prairies, and chasing Indians. Henry Clay (Kid Clay), the fifteen-year-old son of a Kentucky judge, is no different, but he gets a lot more than he bargained for... typhoid, rustlers, stampedes, Buffalo Bill, and bank robbers.


Kid Clay has the determination and bravery he needs to survive, but as he makes his way along the trail, he discovers that the West is beginning to change. Thats when he makes a momentous decision that will affect the rest of his life.






Rob Siedenburg


5.0 out of 5 stars The reader gets a glimpse into the real world of the cowboy during the years of the very last big cattle drives to the north.

Reviewed in the United States on February 27, 2018

Verified Purchase

This book has the ring of authenticity and real life. The author has struck just the right balance between referring to his grandfather's journal and memoir and using some realistic local color to fill out dialogue, terrain, and similar details. The book is hard to put down because the story line carries the reader along. One sign of a good book is a feeling of loss at the end, because the reader has arrived at the end of the trail, so to speak. The reader wants to know how the story ends, what lies around the next bend, and what happens to the protagonist in the future—a protagonist whom by now we respect and have an interest in. Maybe this fine author, Carl Watson, will find his muse of inspiration and draw on his family history to write a sequel to Kid Clay. I for one hope that is the case. Kid Clay


Connie J. Green


5.0 out of 5 stars and the opportunity to meet some of the finest people on earth

Reviewed in the United States on February 3, 2018

Kid Clay by Carl Watson
W & B Publishers, Kernersville, NC

When young Henry Clay sets our looking for adventure in the western frontier of the late 1800s, he finds it—along with an illness that almost takes his life, several encounters with cattle rustlers, a brief meeting with the infamous Dalton gang, and all the challenges and discomforts life on the open plains has to offer. Due to his youthfulness, Clay picks up the trail nickname Kid, but during his years on the frontier, he manages to overcome any sense of belittlement the name might convey.

Kid Clay is based on the memoirs of Carl Watson's grandfather, Henry "Kid" Carleton Clay, who was born in Kentucky in 1865.

As the son of a judge, young Henry is expected to follow in his father's footsteps and go into law. However, Henry has an unbearable itch to explore the west he has heard about in stories related to his grandfather Simon Kenton and his distant relative Kit Carson. As Kid recovers from Typhoid Fever and works his way across Texas and New Mexico, into Colorado and Nevada, he finds the west lives up to his expectations. It is a place filled with adventure, danger, unbelievable beauty, and the opportunity to meet some of the finest people on earth, Buffalo Bill among that number. But it is the ordinary people who mean most to Kid— the woman who nurses him back to health, his fellow trail riders, the ranch bosses, and the tribe of Indians with whom he lives for a year.

Kid's Kentucky upbringing includes training as a horseman and skill with using guns, both abilities that serve him well on the frontier. However, after years of indulging his yen for adventure, Kid finds a different sort of yearning replacing his old urges. The once-wild west is changing, as is Kid, and a new future opens for both as the story closes.

Kid Clay is written for young readers and for adults as well, for all who like a story with action and adventure

 Great story!

Reviewed in the United States on February 6, 2018

Knowing only a tad about cowboys, this story brought it all to life. From the first sentence to the last, Watson gives us the true grit of what it was like to be a newby cowboy and all the trials associated with it. It was not like on the old movies where they always looked clean and the trail was fun. This was Watson's great-grandfather and was based on his journal. What an adventure for a fifteen-year-old young man. I highly recommend this for anyone, but especially for young people twelve and up; not to run away and become cowpokes, but for the honor, integrity, and respect for nature, family, and strangers. What a great man!


Karen & David E


5.0 out of 5 stars Great Life Lessons

Reviewed in the United States on February 1, 2018

I love this book! Kid Clay, like most teens, is restless. He wants adventure, excitement, and a different life. So, Kid takes off to see the wild west and to live the life of a Texas cowboy. Along the way, he meets all sorts of people, each making decisions that effect their life ~ some good, some bad. This book takes on tough subjects like having a friend who breaks the law... having someone you respect die, and more. It also shows that you can admire someone, like a Texas Ranger, but still decide that isn't the life you want. All without being preachy. Kid Clay stays true to himself, as he discovers who he is. Again, I really liked this book!



Christine Kohler


4.0 out of 5 stars Authentic Cowboy Experience -- MG-adult

Reviewed in the United States on February 8, 2018

What I enjoyed most about this historical book about the adventures of the author's grandfather was the factual information about how cowboys lived on the trail. This book will be a treasure to the author's family generations from now. It's monumental the amount of famous Western pioneers--good and bad--that Kid Clay met and worked with.

Note to young people for book reports: This book is a fast year, and accessible for MG readers, ages 8 and up.


Melissa Carrigee


4.0 out of 5 stars Exciting Gallop Through the Old West

Reviewed in the United States on February 11, 2018

What I really like about Kid Clay is that it is based on real characters and a true story. On a fast-paced, exciting gallop through the Old West, the young reader will learn about cowboys and their way of life. (It wasn't always like the movies.) Kid Clay is full of action, information and is a fun read. This book is great for middle-grade readers.


 falls in love, lives with Indians

Reviewed in the United States on February 6, 2018

Kid Clay feels authentic to the bone. This young adult novel, which is based
on a true story, takes place in the West in the 1880s. It was written by
Carl Watson, grandson of the book's fifteen-year-old cowboy hero. Watson's
writing is lean, straight forward and on the mark. His young protagonist
drives cattle, faces down outlaws and rustlers, falls in love, lives with
Indians, and more than holds his own. If you're looking for a good book
about the adventures of a young cowboy in the fading days of cattle drives
and the Old West, Kid Clay is the ticket.
Michael de Guzman


Linda Knight



Reviewed in the United States on December 19, 2017

I loved this book! It is well written, and provides vivid details of Kid's adventures. While reading the book, a beautiful picture of the West was illustrated and depicted within my mind, making me feel like I was watching an amazing, action-packed on-screen motion picture. Great job!