cover image Cows Can't Fly

Cows Can't Fly

David Milgrim. Viking Children's Books, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-670-87475-0

When the narrator of this featherweight tale crayons two orange cows against a bright blue sky, he is told to get real: "" `Why, that's absurd,' my father said./ `Why don't you draw/ some birds instead?' "" The plot takes a fantasy turn when a breeze blows the drawing down to the prairie and convinces a herd of real steers to take to the air. Once Milgrim (Dog Brain) launches the cows, however, he doesn't quite know what to do with them. As the brown animals float like balloons across a pale-blue horizon, the author employs a proven child-appealing strategy: only the young artist notices that his idea has taken flight, and the adults ignore the boy's insistent pointing at the sky (""Ms. Crumb said cows/ were far too fat;/ that facts were facts/ and that was that""). The cows then leave without a trace, which may leave some readers mystified. Although the cartoonlike art is unusually cheerful, the story seems unresolved. Ages 3-8. (May)