cover image Find a Cow Now!

Find a Cow Now!

Janet Stevens, illus. by Susan Stevens Crummel. Holiday House, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8234-2218-0

Tired of the commotion caused by an antsy house dog, a pet bird persuades the canine that he should head to the country to herd cows (never mind that neither of these city slickers knows what a cow is). Crummel’s mixed-media artwork gives the story’s familiar barnyard animals ample personality (most of them quite cranky and unpleasant), as Dog mistakes one after another for a cow. An angry chicken glares and claws at Dog, and a donkey, who’s similarly enraged at being confused for a cow, kicks dog with a big “ka-boom.” Stevens’s text, meanwhile, is full of exclamations, repeated phrases, and animal noises that should encourage reader participation: “Dog walked and walked. There it was.... A COW! Ruff! Ruff! Yip! Yip! Yee-haw!” Finally, the discouraged dog unknowingly meets a cow that kindly takes him back home—a short-lived trip after the cow causes chaos on the city streets. The chief source of fun comes from readers knowing more than Dog, but it’s not much compensation in a story in which the only two likable characters are either dimwitted or dull. Ages 4–8. (Nov.)