cover image When Cows Come Home

When Cows Come Home

David L. Harrison. Boyds Mills Press, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-56397-143-3

Memorable stanzas and animated spreads jazz up this look at the silly things cows just might do when people stop paying attention to them. ``You never saw / Such cow horseplay / When Farmer looks / The other way!'' writes Harrison ( Somebody Catch My Homework ) as several holsteins peek expectantly around the corner of a barn door. Liberated from Farmer's watchful eye, the members of the herd pedal bicycles, swim in a pond and clown around with some braying donkeys. Although Harrison's litany of heifer high jinks sags a bit in the middle, rhyme and repetition subtly encourage beginning readers to recognize and practice key words. Demarest's ( Smart Dog ; My Little Red Car ) splashy watercolors lend a sense of playful motion and fluidity to his characters; the cows--who, modestly, have only the barest suggestion of udders--execute nary a clumsy move and appear practically weightless as they finally ``swish their tails / And gently sway / . . . / And head for home / In a cowlike way.'' A bright, appealing volume with a mischievous nature. Ages 2-8. (Feb.)