Kiss the Cow!

Kiss the Cow!

by Phyllis Root, Will Hillenbrand

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"With simple language, predictable rhythms and repetition, and flawless pacing, [Root’s] story begs to be read aloud. . . . Hillenbrand’s immense attention to detail is gratifying" - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

When a very curious little girl meets a cow named Luella who is even more stubborn than she is, who will be the first to


"With simple language, predictable rhythms and repetition, and flawless pacing, [Root’s] story begs to be read aloud. . . . Hillenbrand’s immense attention to detail is gratifying" - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

When a very curious little girl meets a cow named Luella who is even more stubborn than she is, who will be the first to back down? Phyllis
Root’s spirited tall tale finds a family of countless hungry children -
and a magic cow who demands a kiss on the nose to keep the sweet milk flowing.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Mama May has "so many children she couldn't count them all." Annalisa, the most curious and stubborn of the bunch, is never too far from Mama May's side. The red-headed pony-tailed girl observes how Mama May coaxes daily buckets of milk from Luella the cow using soothing words and, to Annalisa's disgust, a kiss on the nose. Eager to learn if she, too, can yield milk from Luella, Annalisa imitates Mama May to the letterDuntil it's time to pucker up. Annalisa's refusal to deliver a bovine buss causes chaosDLuella won't provide any milk and that means lots of "hungry, crying children." Root's (Aunt Nancy and Old Man Trouble) original comic folktale clips along at a jaunty read-aloud pace, befitting the eccentric Mama May and her boisterous brood. Hillenbrand (Down by the Station; The House That Drac Built) obviously delights in depicting the extensive family's full-to-bursting life in his sunny mixed-media paintings. Mama May's "house" is a ramshackle collection of small buildings and add-ons that stretches across a full spread (or as Root describes, "as wide as the prairie"). But best of all are the matriarch's sweet countenance and her passel of childrenDa virtual United Nations of race and nationality, all clad in denim overalls. Youngsters will be rooting right along with them for Annalisa to kiss the cow and save the day. Ages 4-8. (Nov.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Annalisa is the most curious and most stubborn of Mama May's brood, a lively group of siblings too numerous to count. Daily, she watches her mother go off to the pasture to milk a magic cow, and each time she feels disgusted when her mother kisses the animal on the nose in thanks. The child wonders what it must be like to milk a magic cow and one day she sets out to find out. She milks Luella, but refuses to kiss her, resulting in dire consequences. The cow will give no more milk; the children go hungry. Mama May pleads with Annalisa to complete the ritual, but the girl adamantly refuses. Finally, her curiosity gets the better of her and she breaks down and puckers up. All ends well with the contented cow giving milk once again. This lighthearted tale is accompanied by colorful cartoonlike illustrations. A good discussion starter on curiosity and its consequences, it also provides an example of a stubborn character backing down. Flowing language makes it a fun read-aloud.-Anne Knickerbocker, Cedar Brook Elementary School, Houston, TX Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A refreshing, original American tall tale. Root (All for the Newborn Baby, p. 1431, etc.) is a master of storytelling: with simple language, predictable rhythms and repetition, and flawless pacing, this story begs to be read aloud, again and again. Mama May had a magic cow, lovely Luella, whose milk never failed. The secret was that Mama May sang to her to get enough milk to feed her many children; sang again to stop the flow; then thanked Luella with a kiss on her velvety brown nose. Mama May's daughter Annalisa"wasn't the youngest, and she wasn't the oldest, but she was the most curious and the most stubborn." So despite her mother's warnings, Annalisa just had to milk that cow. Annalisa sang the songs and milked the cow—but she didn't kiss the cow. When Luella did not give milk, Mama May knew whom to suspect. Even though Mama May patiently requested, and the hungry siblings begged, Annalisa, who was as stubborn as she was curious, refused to kiss the cow. Hillenbrand's (Down by the Station, 1999, etc.) illustrations are of mixed dry media: colored pencil, chalk, and ink layered on vellum, a technique that creates a richness and depth of field and gives an almost marbleizing texture to the figures. He presents a variety of visual perspectives, including sweeping landscapes and homey indoor vignettes. And his immense attention to detail is gratifying, portraying the humor and pathos of the story. A satisfying treat—from the front endpapers, which depict a multitude of children jumping from a hayloft to the final endpapers of satiated faces with milk mustaches. Certain to be a hit with kids and adults, this deserves a big smooch. (Picturebook.3-6)

Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.63(w) x 9.75(h) x 0.13(d)
AD410L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Phyllis Root says, "I did not know what it was actually like to kiss a cow. So I went to the State Fair with every intention of kissing a cow. But when I got to the cow barn, there were all these 4-H kids who had raised their cows and were so proud of them. Somehow it didn't feel respectful to ask if I could kiss their cows."

Will Hillenbrand says he drew on memories of summers spent on a farm with his aunt and uncle and their thirteen children. "My cousins were full of practical jokes for me—the city kid—like squirting my face while milking the cow. My aunt was incredible. She never stopped working and could never imagine not working. It was such a warm, lively place, and I hope that comes through in the pictures." He also admits to trying to kiss a cow on a farm in Wisconsin. "I was willing," he recalls, "but the cow wasn't."

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