cover image Ten Cows to Texas

Ten Cows to Texas

Peggy Mercer, , illus. by Bill Crews. . Handprint, $16.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-1-59354-116-3

Exaggerated Southern dialect adds flavor to the adventures of Mimi and her nine colorfully coiffed bovine sisters (Magnolia, Melba, Mavis, etc.). An ad "Wanted: Ten Cows to Be Big Stars ," sends the hooved siblings on a cross-country trek from Lonesome Cow, Ga. (where all they had to look forward to was bingo at the Out to Pasture Nursing Home), to El Paso, Tex., by means of a "borrowed" 18-wheeler. The truck's erstwhile driver, Big 'Un, a muscular man with an Elvis flare, coaches Mimi's driving from a seat on the hood: "Not so blame fast! Dodge the deer!" Along the way, police cars, helicopters and cheerleaders join an ever-expanding convoy. During the road trip scenes, maps of Southern states comprise the borders and trace the truck's progress. Crews's illustrations convey the changing landscape: lush Alabama farmland turns to gator-filled Louisiana waters, while in Texas, fields of bluebonnets give way to desert. The cows' punctual arrival in El Paso indeed pays off with stardom, and the story closes with a list, entitled "The Honest-to-Goodness Rest of the Story," detailing the cows' future successes. Despite a few groan-worthy puns (e.g., the cows read the "moospaper," Big 'Un cooks an egg on his hot head), this race to keep a date with destiny is an entertaining ride. Ages 4-7. (Nov.)