cover image COWS GOING PAST


Bruce Balan, , illus. by Scott Nash. . Dial, $9.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-2902-5

In Balan's (Buoy, Home at Sea ) paper-over-board homage to the classic picture books of the 1950s and '60s, Mother, Dad and their son take a trip in their lumpy orange sedan. "We are going./ We are going far./ We are going far/ on a trip in a car," begins the pithy text, in steadily decreasing type size. Nash (Oh, Tucker! ) provides pencil drawings whose fields of primary color—generated by computer—on full-bleed spreads and in panel illustrations, reproduce the look of the P.D. Eastman and H.A. Rey era. As the title hints, it's cows that fire the boy's imagination. "A black cow/ in a green field./ A white cow in a/ brown field./ A red cow under a green/ tree staring at a dog./ Bow-wow, cow!" Nash portrays the black cow pushing a lawn mower, while the red cow reads to a yellow pooch in the shade. Other cows play miniature golf, fall asleep while fishing and jam in a rock-and-roll band. A Goodnight Moon –style conclusion finds the boy in bed, his journey at an end. Some toy cows perch on his windowsill, and a crescent moon hangs in a jet-black sky. "Good-bye, town./ Good-bye, tree./ Good-bye, barn./ Good-bye, sea./ .../ Good-bye, cows." Balan and Nash recreate the genre with a textual and visual pacing that will likely draw readers back time after time. Ages 2-up. (May)