cover image Santa Cows

Santa Cows

Cooper Edens. Simon & Schuster, $14 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-671-74863-0

As this offbeat parody of ``The Night Before Christmas'' opens, the family is enjoying a Christmas feast of pizza, popcorn and microwaved eel and clam cakes: ``When all of a sudden, not the sound of reindeers, / But the mooing of Santa Cows came to our ear. / So we ran to the windows and opened the shutters. / We threw up the blinds to a sky full of udders.'' The Santa Cows, with eyes ``like Liz Taylor's,'' are coming and bringing with them a beautiful tree, a concert of carols and equipment for a Christmas Day baseball game. Lane's warm, slightly fuzzy illustrations, full of strange details and odd knickknacks, make this wacky fantasy seem possible, as they did in The Cherry Migration. At less than half the length of Moore's original, the story will leave readers who appreciate its irreverent humor wanting more but pleased with a refreshingly different Christmas offering. Ages 7-up. (Oct.)