Prudence the Part-Time Cow

Jody Jensen Shaffer, illus. by Stephanie Laberis. Holt/Godwin, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-62779-615-6
A common theme gets a droll spin in this book introducing Prudence, a cow with a thirst for knowledge. When Prudence isn’t wandering through pastures and swatting flies, the book-loving cow is honing her scientific, architectural, and engineering skills, which leads her companions to complain that, as a cow, she “was a little too part-time.” Prudence vows to “try to be like the others” but finds greater success by sticking to her talents, winning over her herd with cow-pleasing inventions that include an electronic “cow-culator” to keep track of the calves and a “portable shade tree” fashioned from an umbrella. Shaffer (The Way the Cookie Crumbled) creates a sympathetic outsider in Prudence, whose dedication to self-betterment—and the sciences—should resonate with any reader who feels pigeonholed or underappreciated. Laberis’s (The More We Get Together) digital artwork brings a mural-like aesthetic to the pages, and the vivid color palette (several cows are purple, Prudence has a puffy pink bouffant) suits the idiosyncrasies of this unconventional barnyard. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Kathleen Rushall, Andrea Brown Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Anne Moore Armstrong, Bright Group. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/01/2017
Release date: 06/13/2017
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