Fair Cow


Effie learns what it takes to be a state-fair cow.

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Effie learns what it takes to be a state-fair cow.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Everybody loves a good makeover, but sometimes it’s smarter to leave well enough alone--a lesson that Effie, a cow who dreams of winning big at the state fair, learns the hard way. She makes the mistake of following the advice of a glamorous pig named Petunia, whose fancy pageant tips include losing weight and stiffening Effie’s tail with glue into a useless but sassy curlicue. Even then, Effie despairs of besting the other bovine divas at the fair--until she realizes that it’s truly contented cows that make award-winning milk. This is Helakoski’s (the Big Chickens books) first time as both writer and illustrator, and her energetic acrylic cartoons make it clear that she has plenty of talent of her own. Curiously, it’s the text that’s disappointing: her writing depends too much on uninspiring repetition to build momentum, and she never finds a compelling voice for Effie. While it’s a far cry from leaving a sour taste, it doesn’t feel like the idea has been milked for all it’s worth, either. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Beverley Fahey
Effie the cow dreamed of being a fair cow and winning a "billowing blue ribbon." Petunia Pig knows just what it takes to transform the awkward bovine into a gussied up beauty. There are exercises to do, hooves to be polished, a tail to be groomed, hair to be curled, and a walk to be perfected. As for Effie, all she wants to do is frolic in the field, but there is not time for such nonsense. At the fair Effie sizes up the competition... silly cows all consumed with looking beautiful. On the way to the judging Effie lets the wind ruffle her curls, steps into the rich green grass, and even drinks from the pond. She is a rumpled mess but comes home a winner. Her blue ribbon is awarded for Best Milk. Bold acrylics convey the pastoral setting with the facial expressions of Effie and the pampered cows spot-on. The witty humor of the text extends to the illustrations that beg the reader to pause and take in all the details. The theme of remaining true to yourself is subtle and even if young readers miss it, they are still rewarded with a satisfying and droll tale. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Effie wants to go to the state fair. "She dreamed of being beautiful, of billowing blue ribbons and big, bodacious barns." Her friend Petunia Pig helps her prepare for the big day. Effie is told she needs to get in shape, curl her hair, change her spots, paint her hooves, glue on a fake tail, and change her walk. The cow is not totally convinced all this is necessary, but goes along with the transformation. When she gets to the fair, she sees all the other cows and thinks they are more beautiful than even her new, improved self. She is disheartened, and on the long walk to the show barn she reverts to her old habits, such as frolicking in the breeze (messes the hair), eating grass (turns teeth green), and drinking from the pond (bloats the belly). Soon her makeover is undone. Despite that, Effie returns home sporting a blue ribbon for Best Milk. The acrylic on paper illustrations are large, bright, and humorous. The animals' faces are quite expressive, clearly showing the personalities of the snooty cows and the overeager pig. This book will work well for storytimes about barnyard antics and for those always-be-yourself lessons. Besides that, it's just plain fun.—Ieva Bates, Ann Arbor District Library, MI
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761456841
  • Publisher: Amazon Childrens Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/1/2010
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 404,903
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.60 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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