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THE COW ON THE ROOF by Eric Maddern


by Eric Maddern & illustrated by Paul Hess

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: June 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-84507-374-6
Publisher: Frances Lincoln

A competent retelling of the old tale of a farmer and his wife who switch roles for a day, with disastrous results for the farmer. Madden sticks relatively closely to standard versions. Convinced that he does more than his share of the hard work, Shon tries to kick back one day after his wife Sian sets out for the fields. However, thanks to general ignorance about housework and a habit of leaving taps and doors open, by dinnertime he’s made a fearful mess. Hess pumps up the energy by posing livestock suspended in mid-air amid rolling perspectives, adding a decidedly non-rustic air to the farmhouse by decorating it with Persian rugs and modernist art. That sets it apart, at least a little, from the many previous renditions, earning it a place next to Wanda Gag’s Gone Is Gone (1935), P.C. Asbjornsen’s Man Who Kept House, illustrated by Svend Otto S (1992), and Eric Kimmel’s Easy Work!, illustrated by Andrew Glass (1998). (Picture book/folktale. 6-8)