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A Birthday for Cow! Hardcover – April 1, 2008


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A Birthday for Cow! + The Doghouse + What Will Fat Cat Sit On?
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 170L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152060723
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152060725
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 9.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #260,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-K—It's Cow's birthday, and Pig and Mouse decide to bake a cake. They follow the standard recipe, mixing eggs, flour, and sugar, but Duck wants to add a turnip. Outvoted, the duck nevertheless persists in trying to contribute the special ingredient, even as the others top off the finished treat with candles. A surprised Cow is overjoyed to be feted, and on seeing her friends hold up their gifts exclaims: "Is that what I think it is? Oh boy, this is the best birthday ever…a turnip." Told in simple language, this whimsical story is illustrated with somewhat abstract cartoon drawings in bright colors and strong black lines. Some of the spreads have a cluttered appearance that may be a bit confusing to the very young, but children will delight in the humor.—G. Alyssa Parkinson, Highland Township Library, MI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

It is cow's birthday, and the celebration is about to begin. Pig and Mouse are making Cow the best birthday cake ever. They mix flour, sugar, and eggs into a big bowl. Duck wants to mix in a turnip, which Pig and Mouse adamantly refuse to do so. How can you mix a turnip into a birthday cake? As the cake is baked and about to be decorated, Duck keeps insisting that they add the turnip, but the other animals refuse to consider this suggestion. They ice and decorate a beautiful cake which they feel Cow is guaranteed to love. The end of the story has a funny twist: Cow arrives at the surprise party and is thrilled to receive a turnip; he is not quite sure what do with the birthday cake. Children and parents will enjoy this humorous story, as well as the cartoon-like drawings which bring it alive in splendid color and details. This book brings new humor and fun to an old topic, birthday celebrations. Reviewer: Suzanna E. Henshon, Ph.D.  (Children's Literature ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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The pictures are simple and fun and the story is entertaining to them (and me, too).
ut158
It's cow's birthday, and her friends Pig, Mouse and Duck are going to make her the best birthday cake EVER.
Three Silly Chicks
It's funny to think that even though we have all been kids, so few adults amongst us actually get them.
E. R. Bird

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on March 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
It's funny to think that even though we have all been kids, so few adults amongst us actually get them. Grown-ups like to think that children are merely shrunken versions of themselves. They forget that a child's sense of humor is a difficult thing to determine. It's easy to say, "Well kids think farts are funny so I'll just write a whole book about farting," and leave it at that, but in the end it's the lazy way to do things. Certain picture book author/illustrators have figured out how to speak to a child's sense of humor without dumbing things down or patronizing the kids they are presenting to. Mo Willems is a good example of this. Jules Feiffer has his moments. Mara Bergman knows her stuff. And one of the newest additions to this laudable crew is Jan Thomas. Thomas burst onto the scene last year with her seemingly simple, What Will Fat Cat Sit On? and it proved an immediate success. Now she's back with another book that is, shockingly, as good and maybe even better than its predecessor. "A Birthday for Cow!" shows that even when Jan Thomas GETS kid humor, she also knows how to write a tale that'll charm adult readers as well.

Open the book and the first thing you see on the endpapers is a two-page spread of Duck carefully crossing out the days on the calendar until he has reached "Cow's Birthday". You see, cow's birthday is today and Mouse and Pig have got everything under control. They're gonna make the best cake ever with flour, and sugar, and eggs . . . . "AND A TURNIP?" Duck whips out a turnip to the shock of his friends who inform him, very patiently, "No, Duck. We will not put in a turnip." Fair enough. So next they mix it all with . . . "A TURNIP!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Three Silly Chicks on November 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A while back we worried what Fat Cat would sit on. Now Jan Thomas has us concerned about Cow's birthday. She sure keeps us on pins and needles, that Jan Thomas!

Things start out beautifully in this short, short picture book. It's cow's birthday, and her friends Pig, Mouse and Duck are going to make her the best birthday cake EVER. Pig and Mouse put the necessary sugar, flour and eggs in a big bowl. But just as they are about to stir, Duck asks if he can add a turnip. Who ever heard of a turnip in a birthday cake? Pig and Mouse know this is just plain wrong, so every time Duck suggests it they turn him down.

Duck is a bit obsessed with that turnip. Which is of course what makes the book so hysterically funny. On just about every page he's asking if he can add that silly turnip, much to the dismay of Mouse and Pig, who are sensible creatures. They keep refusing, until a twist in the simple plot causes them to rethink turnips and birthday cakes altogether.

Jan Thomas has a real talent for writing and illustrating super short books. Do you know how hard it is to tell a story in less than 100 words? Trust us, it's tough! We admire her for that alone. But the woman can draw funny pictures as well. And while we don't know too much about text type, we do know that we love the text type Eatwell Chubby and Chaloops. Because honestly, how can you NOT love the something called Eatwell Chubby and Chaloops?

This is the perfect birthday gift for the preschool crowd. Serve it up with milk and turnips!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By NewMom07 on February 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover
As of now there is one negative review. From an adult who hasn't yet read this book with a child :-)

I have to agree with the negative reviewer. I was browsing the library, ran out of time, so threw this into my basket (librarians had it on display.... smart ones they are). I skimmed it and thought "laaaaame". Kind of 'meh' illustrations, and what kid will know/care what a turnip is.

WOW was I wrong. I read it with my 4 year old, and he literally was falling over laughing. Laughing so hard I was laughing right with him. Next night he read it with his dad, and same thing-- just falling over laughing at the book. Tonight was a late night, so he took the book to bed and he's reading it on his own-- he NEVER does that!'

The awesome thing about this book, is that it reminds us just adults just how great the little things are. Kids remind of us every day. You know... when a kid cracks up laughing at your pretend fall, or the silly face. How exciting it is when a squirrel is in your yard, or when they get to help make pancakes. This is the book version of all of that. You'll love it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Spudman TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
You have to love this book, one about the goofily smiling cow on the cover about to celebrate a birthday. Kids will love the fun graphics, the expressive characters, and the surprise turn taken at story's end. As with other books by Jan Thomas, I like that every page is used productively, including both inside covers.
Adults looking for a good read-aloud book need look no further than Birthday for Cow or other winning stories by the same author.
I like the continuity of using the same characters in subsequent books that may add or delete one character but mostly keeps the gang together. Be sure to read this book before Thomas' "The Doghouse" to fully appreciate a hilarious turn taken in that book. For fun and creativity, this book takes the cake.
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