Thursday, October 2, 2008

Book Review: The Cow That Laid an Egg by Andy Cutbill and Russell Ayto

Book: The Cow That Laid an Egg
Author: Andy Cutbill
Illustrator: Russell Ayto
Published: 2008
Type: Picture Book

Poor Marjorie! All the other cows can do cool things like handstands or bicycling. What’s special about her? Nothing, that’s what!

When Marjorie discovers an egg underneath her one day, she becomes the most special cow in the barnyard. The other cows, cast into the shade, mutter that it was surely a plot by the chickens. Marjorie is horrified by the intimation that she’s not so special after all. The chickens admit nothing.

As the egg hatches, the entire farm watches with bated breath. Whose egg is it, really?

My co-worker tells me that I have very weird taste in picture books, and I have to admit that this title might prove her right. On the other hand, weird is not bad, especially when it’s the delicious weirdness of The Cow That Laid an Egg.

The story itself is improbable, which lends to the delight. Just about every kid will identify with somebody in this text, from the suddenly famous Marjory to the jealous cows to the generous chickens, and I think you could talk about it for awhile. The gleeful, childlike pictures recall David Shannon’s style in the David books--round bodies, spiky lines, and unlikely proportions.

Pick up The Cow That Laid an Egg for some off-kilter fun.

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