Monday, February 8, 2010
A Birthday for Cow, written and illustrated by Jan Thomas. Harcourt, Thomas Allen & Son, 2008. $13.95 ages 3 and up
"Today is Cow's birthday...
Peg and Mouse are
going to make Cow
the best birthday
Jan Thomas is one of those authors that you want your young readers to know. She makes reading a book what it is supposed to be...fun! Her doe-eyed, grinning characters are the perfect goofy foils for the sense of humor that is a child's. I remember taking Kelsi and Bret to nursery school and listening to them tell each other the most ridiculously unfunny jokes, while laughing hysterically together. I was constantly at a loss to understand the humor that they so obviously enjoyed. Jan Thomas gets it!
In the front endpapers to this birthday book, we see Duck circling the 17th which sports large letters pronouncing 'Cow's Birthday!' Mouse has hung a banner, blown up balloons and is ready to celebrate. As Pig blows a whistle, the author begins, accompanied by joyous shouts. Turns out that Pig and Mouse are going to make a cake for Cow. Duck is dumbfounded! But Pig and Mouse are determined. They assemble their ingredients and begin. Duck provides the TURNIP! No, they won't need that. The mixing begins and again Duck offers a TURNIP! but they opt for a spoon to stir the batter. You can hear the guffawing, right?
The TURNIP doesn't go in the oven with the cake to bake or on top of the cake as a decoration either. When Cow arrives they are ready to celebrate with fresh, warm cake! Cow, unfortunately, only has eyes for the TURNIP! Despite some initial disquiet, all's well that ends well...Mouse and Pig are quite content to eat the yummy cake, Cow devours the turnip and Duck has a conversation with Cow concerning the many uses of a good turnip!
Too funny, and so wonderful to read out loud to a group. This is another of those books that we want to read numerous times to emerging readers. They will hear the words, love the unlimited laughter, and soon be reading it on their own to the great delight of anyone who will listen. Best of all, they will think that reading is a worthwhile way to spend their time and be on the lookout for similar books. If you want to raise a reader, get books just like this onto their library shelves!