Something to Tell the Grandcows

Something to Tell the Grandcows

by Eileen Spinelli, Bill Slavin
     
 

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When Emmadine the cow learned that Admiral Richard E. Byrd was looking for a few good cows to take to the South Pole, she volunteered — boldly going where no cow had gone before.Loosely based on a historical event, Eileen Spinelli's humorous tale of Emmadine's adventures will delight young readers, while Bill Slavin's bold acrylic illustrations bring this unique

Overview

When Emmadine the cow learned that Admiral Richard E. Byrd was looking for a few good cows to take to the South Pole, she volunteered — boldly going where no cow had gone before.Loosely based on a historical event, Eileen Spinelli's humorous tale of Emmadine's adventures will delight young readers, while Bill Slavin's bold acrylic illustrations bring this unique and heroic cow to life.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
There actually were several cows on one of Admiral Byrd's expeditions to the South Pole. That fact has inspired this jolly tale of cow adventure. In 1933, Emmadine the cow, anxious to have something exciting to tell her grandcows, volunteers for the trip. After seasick weeks, she arrives at "the coldest place on earth." Clad in socks, a scarf, and an "udder muff," Emmadine spots seals, petrels, whales, and has an amazing encounter with penguins. Milking time is not quite the same in a place where the sun never goes down in the summer. She then cheers the others through the storms and dark of the endless winter. Finally, homesick, she is happy to return home. Over and over, Emmadine has mused, "Oh, wouldn't the grandcows be amazed!" And of course, they are. Slavin successfully mixes naturalistic settings with the fairy-tale events in double-page textured acrylic paintings that make us shiver with icicle-producing cold and get our feet tapping as the Emmadine leads the cows dancing the "hoochy-coochy." There is even a touch of patriotic sentimentality as she stands on the ship's deck beneath the American flag saying goodbye to a group of penguins and seals, then is greeted by crowds and by the President of the United States. The pages exude good feeling and just plain fun. 2004, Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, Ages 4 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-Just as Emmadine is bemoaning the lack of exciting tales to tell her grandcows, she hears that Admiral Richard E. Byrd is looking for a few good bovines for an expedition. Emmadine volunteers, and, along with 2 other cows, 153 dogs, and 56 explorers, heads for the South Pole in October 1933. After weeks of seasickness, she arrives at "the coldest place on earth," where her "teeth chattered like spoons." Wrapped in a scarf, her warmest socks, and a striped "uddermuff," she faces the cold and darkness, sees seals and penguins, teaches the other cows and the herdsman to dance, and stores away her fantastic experiences to share with her offspring when she returns home. The author takes a true event (Byrd really did take cows on one of his expeditions) and describes it from a unique point of view. Slavin's artwork, done in acrylics on gessoed paper, perfectly captures this delightful bovine, whose upbeat personality shines in the single- and double-page paintings. Emmadine is at her worst when seasick and at her most vivacious when she kicks up her heels with the herdsman. Older readers can use the Byrd tie-in as an excuse to laugh their way through this picture-book adventure, while younger children will appreciate the humor even if they know nothing about polar exploration.-Carolyn Janssen, Children's Learning Center of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Emmadine the cow has no exciting stories to tell her grandcows, so she signs on with Admiral Byrd for a trip to the South Pole. She gets seasick on the way down, but she is sure the grandcows will be impressed by stories of 24-hour days and the echoing spouts of whales. When winter and total darkness arrive, she helps alleviate everyone's boredom by teaching the cowherd and the other cows to dance. She misses the grandcows and is glad to head home, where she meets the president and gets a medal. The grandcows are rightfully impressed. Apparently several cows did accompany Byrd on his 1933 trip to the Pole. Spinelli has taken that fact as her jumping-off point for this charming and instructive tale. Slavin's spirited acrylic illustrations are a perfect match. The picture of Emmadine's uddermuff is worth the price. The lack of any sort of historical note would hurt a lesser tale, but Emmadine will win readers over. (Picture book. 4-10)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802852366
Publisher:
Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
Publication date:
02/28/2004
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
10.56(w) x 8.58(h) x 0.38(d)
Lexile:
AD610L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

Eileen Spinelli's love of books began at age five, during her first visit to the local public library. “I climbed up the steps to the children's room on the second floor and into a wonderland! Books everywhere . . . I didn't know which book to grab first,” she explains. “It made no difference to me that I couldn't read.” After that, young Eileen visited the library every Saturday with her mother. After a few years of library visits, she knew she wanted to become a writer.Eileen is the author of over thirty-five picture books and novels, including Something to Tell the Grandcows (Eerdmans) and When Mama Comes Home Tonight (Simon and Schuster). She and Mary Newell DePalma collaborated on the book Now It Is Winter (Eerdmans), which was named a Bank Street College Best Children's Book. Eileen lives in Pennsylvania.

Bill Slavin has been writing and drawing since he was seven years old and has illustrated many books for children, including Gonzalo Grabs the Good Life and Something to Tell the Grandcows (both Eerdmans). He has received numerous awards, including the Blue Spruce Award and the CLC Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's medal, both for his book Stanley's Party. Bill lives in Ontario.

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