This week’s Friday Favorite is:
Sixteen Cows (Voyager Books, Harcourt, 2002) by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Kurt Cyrus
In honor of upcoming Valentine’s Day, here’s a storytime favorite about love without being mushy. Lisa Wheeler is a master of language and her lilting rhyme begs to read aloud. Cowgirl Sue and Cowboy Gene own neighboring ranches, but a fence keeps them and their cows separated. When a storm destroys the fence, their cows get all mixed up and the two have trouble sorting them out again.
More about compromise than love, this story shows that when the two ranchers get into a fight, it’s the cows that suffer. The ranchers sing, the cows dance and everyone gets hilariously confused. So the two call a truce. Happily, a wedding follows and the two (and all the cows!) will never have to be separated by a fence again.
I just love this book’s language and rhythm of the text. With old-fashioned rancher slang and pitch-perfect rhyme, it’s so much fun to read aloud! Each rancher has eight cows, all with similar humorous names. When the ranchers and the cows get all mixed up after the storm, all sixteen cow names get mixed up too and reading the names becomes a silly tongue-twister. The simple cow refrain of “Moo,” is perfect for encouraging little readers to chime right in along with cows. The repetition, especially of the cow names, is sure to get giggles and the bright illustrations have funny little details that add to the humor of this book. And just wait ’til you see the cows dressed up as bridesmaids! Stories about cows and cowboys are usually a pretty good bet for the preschool crowd, and this book is a storytime winner.
At The Carle Bookshop we specialize in backlist picture books. Backlist is bookseller talk for the not-so-new picture books that you often can’t find at other bookstores. We carry the fabulous new books too (make sure to read our weekly Top of the Shelf posts for new book recommendations), but we know what makes us unique are the shelves and shelves of picture books you remember from your childhood or books you read to your own children. Each Friday, we’ll highlight one of these special older titles in case you may have missed it or forgotten about it along the way. Let’s keep the picture book alive and loved, shall we?