What's Buster Up To? Create Your Own Story from Ernest Franklin's Illustrations

With this activity, students can create their own story plot and characters using Ernest Franklin's illustrations for Buster Mesquite's Cowboy Band.

Ernest Franklin (1942-2010) was a Navajo artist who illustrated many books for children and adults - he painted the illustrations for Tony Hillerman’s book, Buster Mesquite’s Cowboy Band, which you can borrow this book from your local library.


Could you create your own story using Ernest Franklin’s pictures?

  • First, make up a title for your story.
  • Then, look at the picture on each page and write about what you see in the space provided – Who is in the picture? What are they doing? Are they happy or sad, friendly or angry?
  • Think about how each of the pictures fit together, to make a whole story. What happens to the cowboy animals in each picture that leads them from the first picture to the last?
  • When you are finished, send your story to us at the University of New Mexico and we will put it on the Tony Hillerman Portal website, so you can show your friends!

Good Luck!