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(She’s a Little Cow)

by Colin McNaughton & illustrated by Colin McNaughton

Age Range: 5 - 7

Pub Date: Aug. 15th, 2005
ISBN: 0-00-715466-6
Publisher: Collins Children’s Books/Trafalgar

McNaughton borrows a name from an old comic ballad (a reference likely to escape most readers on this side of the pond, though Sting has recorded it for a children’s album) for a tricky calf who schemes to stay home from school for a week and a day. Each day, Cushie’s smiling face displays a colorful pattern of stars, stripes, lines or dots, prompting her mother, father and others in succession to declare her, “SICK!” Oddly, she’s fine on weekends. The subterfuge finally collapses when her mother cleans beneath her bed, and unearths a face-painting kit. Off goes Cushie, plainly unrepentant, to school. Played out by a bovine cast dressed in human clothing and placed against garish color fields, the episode has a broad, slapstick visual tone unsupported by an awkward text that wanders in and out of rhythm. Minor McNaughton, as is its companion, What Now, Cushie Butterfield? ($18.00. ISBN: 0-00-715467-4). (Picture book. 5-7)