A herd of cows repeatedly comes to the rescue of a hapless family on fair day.
Himmelman’s illustrations are such an artful eyeful—snappily colored and gloriously comic—that it is easy to overlook the pleasure of the simple text, a little motor that in many ways drives the whole production forward. The Greenstalk family is headed to the county fair. Throughout the day, they encounter problems: The car won’t start, there aren’t enough contestants for the three-legged race, the Ferris wheel gives one of the children a case of the jitters. Fear not: Cows to the rescue! (Himmelman has also written books featuring rescues by chickens and pigs.) The cows are visually endearing in the extreme, great galumphing beasts with can-do good cheer. For each and every difficulty, there is a successful conclusion: “That wasn’t scary at all,” claims the Ferris wheel fraidy cat; “Thanks for the lift,” says Farmer Greenstalk when the cows ferry the family to the fair. The timing of the “Cows to the rescue!” is such that even the very young will know just when to come yodeling into a read-aloud, which gives the book a fine, uproarious feel and an excellent measure of involvement.
In the end, the cows get burnt out, and who can blame them? Then it’s time for the duck to show his stuff—is more hilarity in the works? (Picture book. 3-6)