A donkey longs to be a cow in this picture book.
Cowie, a donkey, thinks cows are the best thing ever. “He admire[s] their soft ears and their kind eyes” and their “calm and steady” demeanor. In fact, he loves cows so much that he wants to become one. So he stands with the cows and chews cud with the cows, but when he tries to moo like a cow, it comes out backwards, as “oooooom.” Donkey is dreadfully discouraged. His friends Mousie and Duckie (whose names, unlike Cowie’s, represent them accurately) try to cheer him up by squeaking and quacking backwards (“kaeuqs” and “kcauq”) but to no avail. Next, they examine Cowie (“WHOA” betide them when they get to his breath) to try to find a solution to his backwards mooing. This lighthearted story is decorated with delicate pencil-and-watercolor illustrations that leave plenty of white space on the page to emphasize the buoyant feel. Even the typeface has a certain sense of play to it, adding to the book’s well-thought-out overall design. The theme, if readers need one, may be something along the lines of the value of friendship, but when the characters are as cute as Mousie and Duckie (and the unnamed chick who toodles about throughout the pages), readers will be forgiven for just enjoying the silly antics of everyone.
A comforting, carefree romp in the land of the silly. (Picture book. 3-6)