For the Joy of Literacy!
Author: Lynn Plourde
Illustrator: Rebecca Harrison Reede
Lynn Plourde sets the scene wonderfully with the arrival of four cows to an excited, though clueless, first-time farmer. We then discover that these cows have a bit of an elitist streak, as they claim the barn exclusively for themselves with a sign: ONLY COWS ALLOWED! As new animals arrive, each one attempts to show that they may actually be cows in order to gain entrance to the barn. They fail each test, of course, but the farmer doesn’t mind. Rather, he indicates that the only animals not fulfilling their duties are the cows. When the farmer decides to throw a barn party for all the animals, the cows finally acquiesce. But who gets the last laugh? The cows! They sneak off to find someplace even better than their barn . . . won’t the farmer be surprised!
Like: I like the tone, creativity, and expressiveness of the illustrations. The text is both humorous enough for a 5-7 year old and yet simple and instructive for the younger reader, confirming the different characteristics of each animal. The length and flow works well for older children. The ending will make the kids giggle with delight.
Dislike: At one point, the story presents the cows jumping over the moon. This seemed a little out-of-place. Nonetheless, most children will likely enjoy this detail which is accompanied by a comical illustration. The text length may get too long for kids younger than 5. Also, some readers may be disappointed by its moral, feeling that it lacked a lesson concerning respect and how to get along.
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