The literacy rate in Farmer Brown's barn goes up considerably once his cows find an old typewriter and begin typing. To the harassed farmer's dismay, his communicative cows quickly become contentious:
Dear Farmer Brown,
The barn is very cold at night. We'd like some electric blankets.
When he refuses to comply with their demands, the cows take action. Farmer Brown finds another note on the barn door: "Sorry. We're closed. No milk today." Soon the striking cows and Farmer Brown are forced to reach a mutually agreeable compromise, with the help of an impartial party--the duck. But this poor, beleaguered farmer's "atypical" troubles are not over yet!
This hilarious tale will give young rebels-in-the-making a taste of the power of peaceful protest and the satisfaction of cooperative give and take. Witty watercolors by award-winning illustrator Betsy Lewin (Snake Alley Band, Araminta's Paint Box) will make this a favorite for one and all, even if words such as "ultimatum" and "neutral" throw the younger set. (Ages 5 to 8) --Emilie Coulter
From Publishers Weekly
Plucky barnyard denizens unite to improve their working conditions in this hilarious debut picture book from Cronin (appropriately enough, an attorney). Farmer Brown is dumbfounded when his cows discover an old typewriter in the barn and begin experimenting ("All day long he hears click, clack, moo. Click, clack, moo. Clickety clack moo"). Things really get out of hand when the cows began airing their grievances. Lewin (Araminta's Paint Box) conveys the fellow's shock as he reads: "Dear Farmer Brown, The barn is very cold at night. We'd like some electric blankets. Sincerely, The Cows." When Farmer Brown denies the cows' request, the bovine organizers go on strike. Through the use of the man's shadow, Lewin communicates his rage: the straw in his hat creates the appearance of his hair on end. With help from a neutral duck mediator, the exasperated Farmer Brown finally makes concessions. But, much to his dismay, the cows are not the only creatures that can type. Cronin humorously turns the tables on conventional barnyard dynamics; Lewin's bold, loose-lined watercolors set a light and easygoing mood that matches Farmer Brown's very funny predicament. Kids and underdogs everywhere will cheer for the clever critters that calmly and politely stand up for their rights, while their human caretaker becomes more and more unglued. Ages 3-7. (Feb.)
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