Thursday, December 15, 2011

Simply Moo-velous Books!

Books We Love: Cows Can’t Quack and Cows Can’t Jump 
by Dave Reisman with Illustrations by Jason A. Maas
What do you call a grumpy cow? Moo-dy.
What do cows do for fun? They go to the moooo-vies.

Hey—those jokes goes over like gangbusters with the toddler set. Why? Because kids love cows. Not sure why. Maybe “moo” is the easiest animal noise to make when they’re learning to talk or maybe it’s the way long car rides are made bearable by “cow spotting.” But I challenge you to find a toddler who doesn’t love cows, whether or not they’ve ever clapped eyes on one.

I love Dave Reisman’s clever new book, Cows Can't Quack, a follow-up to his equally funny Cows Can't Jump, from 2008. In Cows Can’t Quack, one animal sound leads to another, as in, “Cows can’t quack … but they can moo. Moose can’t moo … but they can grunt. Goats can’t grunt …” You get the idea. It’s all bleats and croaks and hee-haws. Wrap it all up is large, easy to read, hand-lettered typography, and clever, expressive though minimalist illustrations and you have a winner for your toddler and/or early reader. Or make that a pair of winners. In Cows Can’t Jump, we get action words, like swing and gallop and slither. Hats off to Jason A. Maas. The illustrations are a hoot. “And if you can’t hoot …”

The message is easy to understand. We all have things we’re great at; other skills, not so much. These books give every animal their due with wit and snap. And they’re great little vocabulary builders, too. And the entire book builds like a long-form funny story or joke. This is humor for the wee people (and wee beasties). If you’re trolling for holiday gifts, you can’t go wrong here.

Had enough cow jokes, or do you want a few udders? Don’t feel “cowed” by your holiday shopping. There’s a recent bovine book for every kid on your list:

Babies to Toddlers:
Counting Cows, by Michelle Medlock Adams and Mark Meyers
Little Cow (Look at Me Books), by L. Rigo
Moo, Moo Brown Cow! Have You Any Milk? by Phillis Gershator and Giselle Potter

Ages 3-5
Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, by Doreen Cronin, Betsy Lewin and Randy Travis
Amazing Cows: Udder Absurdity for Children, by Sandra Boynton
Wow, It's A Cow! by Trudy Harris, Jay M Harris and Paige Keiser

Ages 6-8
Whole-y Cow: Fractions Are Fun, by Taryn Souders and Tatjiana Mai-Wyss
14 Cows for America, by Carmen Agra Deedy, Thomas Gonzalez and Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah
Learn to Draw Farm Animals, by Jickie Torres and Robbin Cuddy

Ages 9-12
The Great Cow Race,by Jeff Smith
Cows Sweat Through Their Noses: and Other Freaky Facts About Animal Habits, Characteristics, and Homes, by Barbara Seuling and Matthew Skeens
Laughing Stock: A Cow's Guide to Life, by Texas Bix Bender

Let me leave you with this last profound thought: Do you know why barns are so noisy? Because all the cows have horns.


  1. Hi Maggie,
    My name is Steve Reifman, and I'm an elementary school teacher and writer in Santa Monica, CA. Your site is great, and I have an idea I'd like to share with you. If you're interested, could you please send me your e-mail address so I can send you more details? Mine is Thanks.


  2. Hi Steve. I've emailed you. Look forward to hearing from you.

  3. Hi, Maggie!

    I found your site while searching for storytime ideas about Farm Animals. I love your list of books and would like to invite you to share your post on my Farm ABC'S Blog Hop on my blog, Storytime ABC'S. The ABC'S stands for Activities, Books, Crafts and Snacks ~ all the things I share to help young parents and others in their endeavor to excite children about books and reading. The posts are all literacy-based to help make books and reading an integral and fun part of every child's every day existence. :o) That is my hope anyway...

    I hope you will stop by to visit and consider linking up. You will find me here at

    I look forward to exploring your site more!
    Take care!
    K @ Storytime Fun