October 29, 2012
Find a Cow Now! by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel
After one more nap than he could stand, Dog has more energy than he knows what to do. He chases the rug and his tail and then tries herding the chairs in his cozy city apartment. To say that it doesn’t work is an understatement.
“Stop It!” screeched Bird.
Stuck with Dog all day long, Bird has had more than he can stand. He points out that cattle dogs, like Dog, herd cows. Not chairs. What Dog needs to to is find a cow out in the country. Dog trots down the hall to the elevator and down the sidewalk. He soon makes his way out into the country. But he can’t find a cow which is made more difficult by the fact that he doesn’t know what a cow is. First, he finds chickens. Eventually, he finds a donkey. Each encounter goes worse than the one before.
Finally, a kind brown-eyed creature gives Dog, slightly battered, a lift back into the city. Dog jumps up on his new friend’s back and away they go. But the trip into the city doesn’t go well because Dog’s new friend is really big and people don’t handle the sight of her very well. Dog herds her back into the green fields of the country and only then does he ask her name.
I’m not going to give away the ending but it is a funny little twist that will definitely make the adult reader laugh but will likely tickle younger audiences as well. After all, who hasn’t had a time they just want to kick back when someone else wants to play a pesky version of 20 questions?
The text in these book is super simple — short, sweet and to the point. The illustrations, a combination of acrylic paint, pencil and collage, add depth to the story and are as beautifully complex as the text is simple. The two, text and illustration, work together perfectly as do all the very best picture books.