Calico Vows: 9

Arlene Dubanevich, Author Viking Children's Books $13.5 (320p) ISBN 978-0-670-84436-4
The creator of Pig William and Tom's Tail here focuses her antic, cleanly defined artwork and comedic sensibility on the bovine populace. The cows on Calico Farm are content, lemming-like, to follow their leader, Bertha, out to graze and home again--``On hot days, Bertha knew how to stay cool. On cloudy days, Bertha knew exactly when it was time to lie down and get ready for rain.'' When the estimable Bertha is led off ``to be shown at the county fair,'' her colleagues must fend for themselves--and none too successfully, as it turns out. Bertha's triumphant return is cause for rejoicing, and for matters to get back on track once more. These cows exhibit a wide range of farcical expressions, and their misadventures may tickle youngsters' fancies. (An encounter with a lawn sprinkler proves particularly puzzling to the peripatetic herd, as ``the rain stopped and started, stopped and started . . . '') Overall, however, these animals are not among Dubanevich's finer creations: their slight story meanders to little purpose, and the pacing occasionally falters. Also, alert children may question a statement near the end of the book--as Bertha spies her pals, ``she slowed down'': since Bertha is on the back of a truck, she has nothing to do with her rate of speed. Children's BOMC selection. Ages 3-8. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1993
Release date: 02/01/1993
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-14-054507-4
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