Books by Joy Cowley

STORIES OF THE WILD WEST GANG by Joy Cowley
Released: Sept. 1, 2012

"Episodic enough to dip in and out, this New Zealand import charms in small bites. (Fiction. 9-12)"
Ten interrelated, longish stories, originally published individually, explore the relationship between only-child Michael's family and his cousins who have moved to town. Read full book review >
THE BEDTIME TRAIN by Joy Cowley
BEDTIME BOOK
Released: Oct. 1, 2008

"A promising effort that falls short. (Picture book. 4-7)"
A tired little boy has trouble falling asleep so he calls the bedtime train—whose engineer looks remarkably like his father. Read full book review >
SNAKE AND LIZARD by Joy Cowley
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2008

"The New Zealand author-and-illustrator team solidly develops this pair's formidable friendship under the scorching desert sun. (Fiction. 7-10)"
A sensitive snake and her lovable lizard companion enjoy a warm and touching relationship, shattering the stereotypes that commonly plague their cold-blooded species. Read full book review >
CHICKEN FEATHERS by Joy Cowley
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 2008

"Not a standout, but expertly done. (Fantasy. 9-11)"
Channeling Dick King-Smith, Cowley offers a warmhearted tale set on a chicken farm featuring a lad with a feathered confidante that talks—though only to him. Read full book review >
MRS. WISHY-WASHY’S CHRISTMAS by Joy Cowley
HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2005

"Though the series was developed for new readers, this offering also will work well as a read-aloud for younger children. (Picture book. 3-7)"
In this latest addition to the series, Mrs. Wishy-Washy's favorite animals (a cow, a pig and a duck) are left alone with instructions to take a bath outdoors in a tub of icy water. Read full book review >
CHAMELEON, CHAMELEON by Joy Cowley
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 2005

"The book's real success, as with its predecessor's, lies in the way words and pictures come together to deliver a satisfying nonfiction adventure for very young children. (Picture book/nonfiction. 3-7)"
In a lush companion to Red-Eyed Tree Frog (1999), a brilliant blue-and-green panther chameleon runs out of food in his tree and descends to the forest floor in search of a more populated hunting ground. Read full book review >
THE WISHING OF BIDDY MALONE by Joy Cowley
FANTASY
Released: Jan. 1, 2004

"The illustrations, attractive enough, do not quite mesh with the text, the boy not exactly beautiful and missing his 'silver rings,' but the warm colors and faerie spirit ring true. (Picture book. 5-8)"
A nifty tale with a Gaelic lilt to its language and structure, resolved with a sweet message. Read full book review >
MRS. WISHY-WASHY’S FARM by Joy Cowley
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 2003

"Pair it with other 'dirty' picture books for a rollicking story time. (Picture book. 3-5)"
When Mrs. Wishy-Washy returns to give Cow, Duck, and Pig yet another scrubbing in the old tin tub, the animals declare, "No more washing!" Read full book review >
AGAPANTHUS HUM AND THE ANGEL HOOT by Joy Cowley
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2003

"A howling success. (Easy reader. 5-8)"
Good little Mommy and good little Daddy are back with their irrepressible, growing daughter, Agapanthus Hum (Agapanthus Hum and the Eyeglasses, 1999; Agapanthus Hum and Major Bark, 2001). Read full book review >
MRS. GOODSTORY by Joy Cowley
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

"Cowley's (Agapanthus Hum and Major Bark, 2001, etc.) topic is promising, but the finished result is disappointing—readers may want to 'skip the boring parts.' (Picture book. 5-8)"
Mrs. Goodstory and a young friend explore the world of fiction in this adventurous tale that attempts to show readers that stories can take you anywhere. Read full book review >
AGAPANTHUS HUM AND MAJOR BARK by Joy Cowley
ANIMALS
Released: Jan. 1, 2001

"This sparkling addition to the adventures of Agapanthus gently reminds us all that it's more than okay to be different: it's cause for celebration. (Fiction. 5-8)"
Cowley's (Agapanthus Hum and the Eyeglasses, 1999) spunky, bespectacled heroine acquires a pet as unabashedly unique as she is when a trip to the local shelter results not in the intended cat, but a dog. Read full book review >
STARBRIGHT AND THE DREAM EATER by Joy Cowley
FANTASY
Released: June 30, 2000

"Though not up to the standards of such terror classics as Neal Shusterman's Eyes of Kid Midas (1992) or Margaret Mahy's Changeover (1984), this will still provide readers with some unnerving moments and a resourceful, self-confident heroine. (Fiction. 11-13)"
An alien predator that strikes through dreams threatens all humanity in this contrived but suspenseful import from the versatile Cowley (Red-Eyed Tree Frog, 1999, etc.). Read full book review >
THE VIDEO SHOP SPARROW by Joy Cowley
Released: Oct. 1, 1999

"The illustrations, largely for their glimpse of life in New Zealand, combine with a text for a book that is inoffensive, competent, yet ultimately uninspiring. (Picture book. 5-7)"
Skateboarding on New Year's Day, sunflowers drooping over a fence hung with a holiday wreath, rooftop Santa Claus decorations—these things are not only possible but probable in New Zealand, where this story is set. Read full book review >
RED-EYED TREE FROG by Joy Cowley
Released: March 1, 1999

"The combination of such visually sophisticated pages and simplistic captions make this a top-heavy, unsatisfying title. (Picture book. 7-9)"
Bishop's spectacular photographs of the tiny red-eyed tree frog defeat an incidental text from Cowley (Singing Down the Rain, 1997, etc.). Read full book review >
AGAPANTHUS HUM AND THE EYEGLASSES by Joy Cowley
FICTION
Released: Jan. 1, 1999

"This story is just like Agapanthus, full of beans, song, and heart; she's so disarming in both text and Plecas's comic illustrations that readers will hope for an encore. (Picture book. 5-8)"
Agapanthus Hum is always in motion, a packet of energy who also happens to wear glasses, which cause her no end of trouble. Read full book review >
SINGING DOWN THE RAIN by Joy Cowley
FICTION
Released: Oct. 30, 1997

"A universal message reaches out of this warmhearted book. (Picture book. 5-9)"
The declaration ``Sweet wonder!'' ends this book—an apt assessment for an uplifting story from Cowley (The Mouse Bride, 1995, etc.) and Gilchrist (Madelia, p. 1304, etc.). Read full book review >
THE MOUSE BRIDE by Joy Cowley
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

"Christiana gives the enormous sun, cloud, and wind sympathetic human features; the tiny mouse, comically foreshortened and in her wedding gown, is heroically awkward to the end. (Picture book. 3-7)"
A mouse, tired of being small and weak, decides to find herself the strongest husband in the world. Read full book review >