What is that book where Cookie Monster is a cowboy villain in the old west?

That time The Cookie Monster was a bad guy in the old west

In 1977 Sesame Street published a shape book called "The Great Cookie Thief" through Whitman publishing starring the Cookie Monster.

picture of illustrated childrens book

The Great Cookie Thief Shape Book 1977

The Great Cookie Thief book was actually based on an Old West sketch that was first shown on an episode of Sesame Street.

The 1977 version of the book was written by Emily Perl Kingsley and illustrated by Michael Smollin who illustrated many of the Sesame Street books.

picture of illustrated childrens book pages

The plot of the book

In the story, the great cookie thief is stealing all the cookies from the bakeries in the area.

(Related post: Cookie Monster and the Cookie Tree Book 1977)

picture of children's book pages with illustrations

While the people are standing around in a saloon they look at the wanted poster on the wall and realize the feller standing next to it looks just like him.

picture of childrens book pages with illustrations

They accuse this feller of being the thief on the poster.

Picture of childrens book pages with illustrations

The Cookie Monster tells them that he does not have the same mustache as the person on the poster. Then he quickly draws one on the face shown on the poster.

picture of the back cover of illustrated childrens book

Turning this Sesame Street segment into a children's illustrated book

When they decided to turn the story into a book illustrator Michael Smollin's early sketches revealed notes from the book's editors, asking him to rethink scenes with cowboys gambling, remove a cowboy's pistol, and make sure only milk was served at the bar.

Illustrations also needed to remain consistent throughout. The fringe on a cowboy's shirt, stitching on boots, and the placement of the wanted posters needed to look the same from spread to spread.

Page from the original television script

scan of a page with text

Here is a copy of a page from the script that they used to create the illustrated book.

The Great Cookie Thief Book memo and notes

scan of type text on paper

Here are notes that were given to the author and the illustrator while they were working on the great cookie thief book in 1976.

The use of speech balloons was a way to use dialogue originally written for the segment on the Sesame Street episode. Yet the placement of speech balloons affects how well young readers follow and understand the story.

Watch the video - The Great Cookie Thief Sesame Street

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