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DADBLAMED UNION ARMY COW by Susan Fletcher Kirkus Star


by Susan Fletcher & illustrated by Kimberly Bulcken Root

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: July 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-7636-2263-3
Publisher: Candlewick

Most picture-book war stories are long on history but short on humor—until now. When a young man enlists in the Union Army, he’s annoyed, embarrassed and frustrated when his cow persists in following him into battle. “That dadblamed cow! When I went to join the Union army, she did not stay home like a regular cow but followed me down to the enlistment office.” She’s persnickety about eating unstomped grass; swats flies off the soldiers’ heads with her tail; provides body heat on frosty nights and milk when food is scarce. When the soldier is hit with a musket ball, his cow helps nurse him back to health. When the war is over, a newspaper reporter takes her photo and folks come from miles around to scratch between her horns and admire the cow that’s been awarded a medal by the Captain for “brave and unusual service to country.” An author’s note explains that the story is true, based on newspaper reports from the Civil War. It’s the telling in the soldier’s voice that engages the reader and captures just the right tone without caricaturizing or sensationalizing. Root’s droll style perfectly portrays the story with homespun flavor and military-blue–dominant illustrations that express human and bovine characteristics. (Picture book/historical fiction. 5-8)