cover image A Particular Cow

A Particular Cow

Mem Fox, , illus. by Terry Denton. . Harcourt, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-200250-3

A read-aloud gem, this uproarious picture book contains an absurdly appropriate plot. "Every Saturday morning, a particular cow went for a particular walk. Usually, nothing particular happened," the tale begins. But one Saturday, the cow finds herself "on the wrong side of a particular pair of bloomers," setting off a comical chaos. The bloomers drop off a clothesline, cover her eyes and cause her to tumble into a postman's mail cart. The cart rolls through a pack of dogs and a seaside wedding before careening off a pier into a sailboat that tips the hapless cow safely back to shore. In addition to her delectable use of repetition, Fox (Time for Bed ) underscores the book's theme that sometimes, when one least expects it, life can take one down a different path, by using a single rhyme at the end of the spare text (the cow "tossed her tail at the summer flies,/ and went on her way without surprise"). Denton's (Night Noises ) action-packed watercolors considerably amplify the book's comic delight. Throughout the cow's adventure, he includes characters that comment on what's happening. The woman whose bloomers begin the train of events shouts "Bloomin' thief!" and when the cow in the cart bursts through the decorative wedding arch, the groom says, "Holy cow." The book's slapstick-humor and verbal dexterity will delight youngsters—as will the particular idea that sometimes, even an ordinary walk can turn into something quite extraordinary. Ages 3-7. (Sept.)