Cartoon book by Jan Swan Wood makes perfect Christmas present |

Cartoon book by Jan Swan Wood makes perfect Christmas present

"It's a Great Life if You Don't Weaken" is an original cowboy cartoon book by Jan Swan Wood.

The first snowfall decorates our vista today, reminding me it’s nearly Thanksgiving. During my 21 years of invading your reading room on a weekly basis to enjoy our chats “Over the Corral Fence,” I’d began sharing Christmas shopping ideas with you about this time of year. I have to say I truly miss those weekly visits, and I’m grateful to those of you who stop me here and there to say you share that nostalgia.

We’re all in agreement, though, that Jan Swan Wood, who now keeps you updated on horse news on “The Outside Circle,” is doin’ a dandy job. Her column is always the third thing I read when my Tri-State Livestock News arrives.

The first two? Why, Jan’s “Outtagrass Cattle Company” cartoon, and then Wally Badgett’s “Earl,” of course.

Humor is a priceless commodity, you know. In today’s mixed up maniac world there’s far too little of the kind that makes you belly laugh; and serious medical research has proven that particular exercise can be better than pills for what ails us as the human race.

With that in mind, I’m delighted to keep my Christmas-shopping advice tradition by announcing the hot-off-the-press edition of Jan Swan Wood’s first book of original cowboy cartoons, “It’s a Great Life if You Don’t Weaken.” That philosophy became a favorite saying of Jan’s cowboy dad, Bill Swan; and makes a perfect title for this book dedicated to her parents.

Dakota cowgirl Jan Swan Wood was ranch-reared by a pioneering family whose Western principles of honesty, hospitality and hard work molded her world view. Good neighbors, bad weather, raunchy cows, rank horses and gooey gumbo helped instill the sense of humor Jan is famous for – a bona fide true-to-life, so-real-it-hurts kind of humor you’ll definitely identify with.

Jan’s grassroots ranch labor across the Northern plains and prairies as well as in the desert Southwest yielded a mother lode of hilarious ideas – and a few decades of experience with the many rural variations of Murphy’s Law have sharpened her wit and her pen to a point of near perfection, as you’ll discover when you open this book! Between the high-quality varnished covers you’ll discover 60 pages of gut-busting giggles – eight of those in full color – guaranteed to be the focal point of coffee shops and dining tables and ranch bookshelves for years to come. All for a mere $15 a copy.

From my viewpoint, Jan didn’t print nearly enough of these little gems, so I’d advise a rush to snatch the copies you’ll need to fill your Christmas list before she runs out. She’s holding shipping and handling fees down to actual cost (another rarity in today’s world!). You can contact her by dialing 605-456-2559; via e-mail at; or on write to 13340 Hope Road, Newell, SD 57760. Or, if you happen to be in downtown Belle Fourche, you can pick up copies from the Sand Creek Printing office at 523 Grant Street.

Whatever you do, get ’em quick, ’cause I’m sure they’ll disappear like this first snow will as soon as the sun heats up.


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