I Am Cow, Hear Me Moo!

I Am Cow, Hear Me Moo! illus. by Gus Gordon. 32p. Dial. May 2014. RTE $16.99. ISBN 9780803735248. LC 2012023451.
PreS-Gr 2—In this amusing tale, a cow named Nadine is put to the test when she boasts that she's not afraid of anything. She and her two friends leave the safety and familiarity of the barnyard to explore nearby woods. At first hesitant to venture into the overgrown wooded area, Nadine quickly discovers much to love about the different surroundings. She spots a bird's nest, tastes blackberries, smells a pinecone, and notices tiny paw prints. When the sun sets, she becomes separated from her friends Starla and Annette while she inspects a cave. Nadine becomes frightened by sounds, shadows, and a tickling on her rump. Fearing a bear is after her, she gallops off a cliff and lands in a creek, where she is spotted by her lost pals, who believe that Nadine has come to their rescue. Written in rhyme, Esbaum's comical and suspenseful plot keeps readers interested. A mix of watercolor, pencil, crayon, and collage, Gordon's spirited and delightful artwork is full of activity and gives Nadine a winsome personality. Readers will chuckle when Annette and Starla boost Nadine up to look in the bird's nest and will laugh when they spot her swinging Tarzan-style from a tree. This story could spark discussions among children about their own fears and would be a worthy read-aloud.—Lynn Vanca, Freelance Librarian, Akron, OH
Cow Nadine claims fearlessness yet is secretly afraid of the dark woods. When challenged, she enters the woods anyway, discovering its delights, and her own bravery...until night falls. Playful mixed-media and collage illustrations outshine the rhyming narrative with a somewhat muddled message about fear: "She was scared of the woods. / But so what? She could smile / because nobody knew it."

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