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Misery Moo

Jeanne Willis, Author, Tony Ross, Illustrator , illus. by Tony Ross. Holt $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8050-7672-1

Attitude—be it the down-in-the-dumps or happy-go-lucky variety—can be contagious, as seen in this warmly humorous picture book (from the creative team behind I Want to Be a Cowgirl ) about a cow with a glass-half-empty view of life. The "miserable old cow" bemoans everything in her sorry existence. But for her every dismal observation, a jaunty little lamb counters with a sunny-side-up perspective. On her birthday, the cow laments her age, while the lamb extols the virtues of celebrating with a party. While winter means shivery cold to the cow, it represents joyous Christmas to the lamb. But even the cheeriest of critters is bound to suffer a comedown in the face of constant protestations. Now it's the cow's turn—in a touching turnabout—to offer her own get-happy attitude adjustment to her woolly buddy. Willis's sweet-natured story gets to the heart of the universal feelings of compassion that come with forging a friendship and changing one's viewpoint. Keeping step, Ross fills his ink-and-watercolor framed illustrations with kindly characters and comic details. Images of cows tangoing at a birthday bash, the pals doing headstands to see things anew and the red-nosed cow and the lamb knitting rainbow, hoof-friendly socks in the snow, are a hoot. Ages 4-8. (May)

Reviewed on: 05/09/2005
Release date: 05/01/2005
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