Esbaum presents a wobbly story about a cow of wobbly confidence (though no shortness of bluster).
In this rhymed production, Nadine and her bovine buddies, Starla and Annette, live on a farm at the edge of the woods. Nadine brags to them that she fears nothing, not even the woods. Full of wind and sure her friends will decline, Nadine suggests a forest excursion—only to find them willing: “Well, moooove it, Nadine,” Starla tells her. Tentatively, Nadine takes a step, then another, and soon enough they are tootling about in the woods having a good time. The sun starts setting; Starla and Annette grow uneasy. Nadine has become comfortable in her Supercow mantle, choosing to dawdle in a cave that has caught her eye. When she emerges, the others have gone, night is on her, and so are the heebie-jeebies. When her tail tickles her rump, off she goes, driven by stark terror over a cliff. She falls into a handy pond, where her friends handily are wandering around lost. A heroine once more, Nadine now gives night tours of the woods. Readers will feel that something isn’t right here, and it’s not just Gordon’s distractingly overbusy photo-collage artwork. It’s why Nadine would eagerly now lead night walks even as the text expressly tells them she’s still afraid of the woods.
Forget Helen Reddy. Nadine is a poster cow for self-mortification. (Picture book. 3-5)