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MRS. WOW NEVER WANTED A COW by Martha Freeman

MRS. WOW NEVER WANTED A COW

By Martha Freeman (Author) , Steve Salerno (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: June 27th, 2006
ISBN: 0-375-83418-4
Publisher: Random House

This reader in the longstanding Beginner Books series marries trendily retro pictures and an amusing text. While mowing her lawn, apparent singleton Mrs. Wow encounters a grazing cow. Her cat, Meow, and dog, Bow-Wow, who prefer sleeping and eating to their chores, try to get the cow to catch mice and guard the house, with predictable results. “This cow is useless!” they cry. When Mrs. Wow explains to her “lazy crazy pets” that cows “can only do two things”—eat grass and give milk—she gets a brainstorm. And though she acquires two new chores herself (milking and hand-cranking ice cream), it’s a fair exchange for an end to mowing, and a dog and cat thrilled to work for ice cream. Freeman misses a few chances for the textual symmetry so important to the format, but repeating phrases and a pleasant use of incidental rhyme fit the bill. Salerno’s pictures channel erstwhile greats in the publisher’s series—notably Roy McKie and P.D. Eastman—by way of Nickelodeon cartoons, and purple Bow-Wow owes a little something to Margaret Bloy Graham’s Harry. Bright, painterly swathes of color add dynamism of their own, and bold black outline simplifies compositions appropriately for a beginning reader. A romp. (Easy reader. 4-7)