Title: Cows to the Rescue
Author & Illustrator: John Himmelman
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company, 2011
Book Type: Fiction
Themes: Farm Animals, Helping Out, Humor, Family
It was the day of the county fair! At seven o’clock, Farmer Greenstalk could not start the car.
Cows to the rescue!
Synopsis (from MacMillan website):
It’s the day of the county fair!
Three-legged races, a “Smartest Pig” contest, the Ferris wheel—what could be more fun? But the Greenstalks’ car won’t start, so they’ll need some help getting there. . . .
A visit to the local farm or petting zoo, or better yet your County Fair!
Why I Like this Book:
This book is hilarious. The text drives the story for the illustrations to shine. Farmer Greenstalk and the animals are beset with problems to solve during the day, not a problem as Cows to the Rescue! Whenever I read the refrain I wanted to shout it out like I was super-hero. The illustrations are colorful and simple, and the cows have a lot of personality. One of my favorites is the cows on the ferris wheel, where you have the calm one, the biting nails one, the I must cover my eyes one, and the oh look how small everything looks down there one. I wonder if Mr. Himmelman has names for each of the cows, that is how well he has portrayed them. Grab this book and a child for storytime.
If you like this book do check out the predecessors in this series, Chickens to the Rescue and Pigs to the Rescue. I especially love Pigs to the Rescue, as the pigs never get it quite right and the Greenstalks in the end are hoping that the pigs don’t come to the rescue.
Picture Book Details:
As an aspiring PB writer, I often analyze a book for its text and illustrations to learn from it. Here are some of the details I liked from this book:
- Repetitive Structure of the text. There are 6 stanzas of three lines each.
- First line: Time of day, Problem
- Second line: “Cows to the rescue!”
- Third line: Expression of thanks
- Illustrations show how the problem is solved by the cows in the most humorous, quirky, silly way. The animal characters have a unique personalities.
- Underlying theme — Family.
I only realized this as I was typing the text out for my own analysis, it is subtle but lovely. The cows were helping out their farm family which consisted of the Greenstalks and the other animals. This is apparent as it is Emily was “scared” of going on the Ferris wheel, or the pigs who needed tutoring, or Jeffrey who needed a partner for the three-legged race.