MRS. O’LEARY’S COW by Mary Ann Hoberman


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Age Range: 3 - 6
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In this adaptation of Brian Wilson’s song (originally about the supposed origins of the “Great Chicago Fire”), the excitement begins when the cow kicks over the lantern. “There’ll be a hot time in the old town tonight!” rings the jubilant refrain, which is always followed by a chant like, “Fire, Fire, Fire!” or “Water, Water, Water!” The devoted family tries to save the cow that, trapped by smoke and fire, “Was getting warm as toast.” When the firemen arrive, hoses spraying, they make a daring rescue, saving the cow from its precipitous perch on the roof. As the bovine is at last tucked under the quilt, she offers a wink and slight smirk, a wicked suggestion that, all along, she planned for this coziness. The stylized illustrations are so bright as to seem illuminated from within, and the colors are as smooth as velvet. The art is uncluttered with clean lines and endearing doll-like faces. This song with a shadowy past now translates to one of bravery and love, with a dash of impishness. A sure-fire hit for a rousing parent/child read-aloud. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2007
ISBN: 0-316-14840-7
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2007


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