cover image The Smallest Cow in the World

The Smallest Cow in the World

Katherine Paterson. HarperCollins Publishers, $14.95 (64pp) ISBN 978-0-06-024690-7

Marvin and his family live on a dairy farm with ``two dogs, eight cats and ninety-seven cows.'' The meanest cow is Rosie, but Marvin loves her anyway. When the owner decides to retire, Marvin's family moves to a different farm, where all except Marvin gradually adjust to their new routine. Upset by his unfamiliar surroundings, the boy pretends Rosie is at the new farm--only now she is the smallest cow in the world, and only Marvin can see her. After destroying Mom's garden and messing up his sister's room, Marvin claims Rosie is to blame because she is angry that she had to move. As the family begins to understand Marvin's feelings, they help him to become acclimated and promise that they will never leave Rosie behind again. Paterson sends a reassuring message to beginning readers: they too can endure potentially difficult and frightening changes. Brown's delicate, homey drawings lend warmth and sensitivity to a unique story. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)