Have I got a special #PPBF post for you all today. Elizabeth is letting me give you all an early glimpse of her newest picture book. It is so adorable; I am sure it will be hard to wait for the release on January 7th. You might just have to pre-orer it.
Although this appears to be a sweet, silly book, both Cowie and Elizabeth's illustrations could be regarded as a wee bit rebellious.
Author/Illustrator: Elizabeth Rose Stanton
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (2020)
Self-discovery, friendship, and perseverance.
Cowie was born a donkey but he knows he’s meant to be a cow. He wants to be a cow. Cows can graze in the meadow all day long and no one asks them to carry heavy packages. So, he stands with the cows in the barn but nothing happens. Will his dream ever come true, he wonders. Can Mousie and Duckie help Cowie feel happy in his own skin?
This is Cowie.
Everyone called him Cowie
because Cowie loved everything about cows.
What I Love about this book:
First of all, Cowie is adorable; such a sweet donkey. And how fun is it that he wants to be a Cow, versus say a horse or zebra. Tired of a donkey's life, as a "beast of burden," Cowie decides to be a cow. Now, he just has to figure out how.
© Elizabeth Rose Stanton, 2020.
Unfortunately for him, the saying that "if it walks like a duck & quacks like a duck; it must be a duck" doesn't actually work. Standing like a cow (oh, the parents will chuckle - spoilers), chewing his cud, or even swishing away flies like a cow - don't make Cowie a cow.
© Elizabeth Rose Stanton, 2020.
When his last-ditch effort, to sound like a cow, comes out as "OOOOM," it's up to his friends Duckie, Mousie, and a little chicken to cheer him up and try to help him discover his "Moo." Kids will love their antics as these three try to help Cowie achieve his dream. His friend's humorous ideas and their ultimate solution are very kid-like and satisfying. Buoyed by the beautiful pen and watercolor illustrations, this is a delightful, satisfying story on friendship and being true to oneself, even if it isn't how you were born.
On a craft note: In her interview on Monday, Elizabeth noted that her illustrations of Cowie are unusual, maybe one could even say "subversive." Throughout the entire book Cowie faces to the left (or center). Unlike the most books where the illustrations help draw (encourage) the reader to turn the page - directing the reader's attention to the right - the text carries a lot of the impetus for turning the page. For instance, after they "brush his teeth and give him a mint," as a possible solution, Cowie and Duckie face the gutter, but the reader turns the page because they want to know if it worked. Without giving away the ending, this illustration tactic is purposeful and part of the solution.
Though a sweetly silly and playful book that kids will enjoy, Cowie provides readers, authors, and illustrators a lot to think about. And offers a mirror for others discovering themselves.
- make a cow bookmark (https://www.activityvillage.co.uk/cow-bookmark) or make a COWIE bookmark (or both):
- try to think of another animal that might wish to be something else. Draw a picture of write a story about this animal and what it wishes to be;
- if you could be any animal, which would you choose and why? or
- write a story or draw a picture of a time you helped a friend do something that was really hard for them.
If you missed the interview of Elizabeth Rose Stanton on Monday, find it (here).
This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.