Sailor Moo: Cow at Sea


Moo dreams of becoming a ...
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Moo dreams of becoming a sailor.
Little does she know,
when she sets off toward the sea,
that the first crew she joins
will be composed of cats.
Or that she herself will be hailed
by a shipload of pirate steers
as their captainĀ¹s dairy queen.
It's amoozing where a dream
can take a girl --
a truth which Lisa Wheeler
and Ponder Goembel relish here
in rollicking words
and witty, windblown pictures.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of milk? Yes, the creamy white drink plays a role in this bouncy bovine picture book, in which a cow finds adventure and true love on the high seas. Compelled to follow her dreams, dairy cow Moo leaves behind the farm's fields of waving wheat for the rollicking waves of the ocean. A stint as galley cook to the feline crew of the Cat's Meow is cut short by a storm that tosses Moo "into the brew" where she is quickly rescued by a pair of her cousins, the sea cows, and escorted to a cattle barge. But the gang with studded ears on board turns out to be a bunch of "looting steers cow buccaneers." Luckily Moo wins the heart of captain Red Angus and encourages him to abandon his pirate ways for married life on the Jersey shore. Wheeler's (Wool Gathering: A Sheep Family Reunion) rhyming verse, filled with silly cow puns, features a breathlessly outr story line. Goembel's (Hi, Pizza Man!) dusky acrylics introduce a cast of bipedal critters who teeter wildly between anthropomorphism and realism, upping the humor considerably. The goggle-sporting manatees and hook-handed cat captain Silver Claw will likely have readers giggling. Ages 3-7. (July) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-"All year long, the dairy cows/would stand-and graze-and chew./ They truly were contented cows-/except for little Moo." A dainty white bovine with a pink ribbon and cowbell, she wants to go to sea, and one day waves good-bye to her mother and leaves the farm: "Yo-ho-ho/And a shiver-me-be/Whoever heard of a cow at sea?" Her adventures are related in well-paced, clever rhyme, and are meticulously and humorously illustrated in acrylics on oversized pages. The realistically anthropomorphic animals are delightful, limned in rich color and detail. Eventually, Moo meets a pirate bull, Red Angus, and reforms him. They settle along the Jersey shore and have a calf called Half-'n'-half. Sure to be a popular addition to any library, this book would be a winner in a storytime, linked up perhaps with Jack Kent's Mrs. Mooley (Golden, 2002) and Phyllis Root's Kiss the Cow! (Candlewick, 2000).-Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A land-locked cow follows her dream-and finds lasting happiness-in Wheeler's (Sixteen Cows, p. 348, etc.) humorous outing. In the opening spread, Moo stands before the fence that divides her grassy grazing land from the wheat field. "Moo watched the field of waving wheat, / and wished for ocean swells. / She sniffed the freshness of the grass, / but wished for ocean smells." Not one to wait, Moo heads to the bay and boards a boat piloted by craggy cats. Goembel's (The Night Iguana Left Home, 1999, etc.) finely wrought acrylic illustration brims with witty details, from the anthropomorphized crew drawing in a loaded fish net to the bristly captain, who wears an eye patch and hooked claw. He agrees to take Moo on in exchange for fresh milk. When a storm sends Moo overboard and she's rescued by a pirate ship captained by Red Angus, her life takes an unexpected turn ("Red Angus gazed into her eyes. / His heart began to warm. / In Moo he'd found his dairy queen / and now he must reform"). The naturalistic accuracy of Goembel's illustration adds to the humor of this most unusual situation, especially in the end, when a closing cameo zeroes in on Moo, Angus, and their calf Half-'n'-Half, enjoying ice-cream cones on the Jersey shore. (Picture book. 3-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689842191
  • Publisher: Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books
  • Publication date: 7/1/2002
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 516,308
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Lexile: AD480L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 12.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Lisa Wheeler has written eighteen books for children, including The Pet Project, illustrated by Zachariah OHora, and the hilarious Spinster Goose, illustrated by Sophie Blackall. She lives with her family in Addison, Michigan. Visit her online at

Ponder Goembel has illustrated eight books, including two others by Lisa Wheeler, Old Cricket, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, and Sailor Moo; A Basket Full of White Eggs, by Brian Swann; and The Night Iguana Left Home, by Megan McDonald. She lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where the 2005 floods threatened to wash away the nearly finished paintings for this book. Her Web site is

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2002


    This udderly-delightful bovine picture book for ages 3 through 7 is the latest from punster Lisa Wheeler, the #1 farm critter fan/author of "Sixteen Cows" and "Wool Gathering: A Sheep Family Reunion." In this hilarious, exceedingly well-executed poem, she tells the tale of Little Moo who dreams of escaping the drab life of a dairy cow by seeking adventure on the high seas. "Moo loved the way the ocean sang/ 'Like moo-sic,' she would utter/As rocking, rolling ocean waves/Would churn her milk to butter."

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