The utter absurdity of the premise - cows that type? - led me to flip through this book, and then to purchase it. My 2 1/2 year old loves it, and appreciates the whimsy and incongruity of the plot: Farmer Brown's cows find a typewriter and type out a demand letter for electric blankets, leading to a comical negotiation to end a milk strike. The illustrations are charming and funny (I especially love the expressions on the cows' faces as they wait for Farmer Brown to respond to their notes), and the droll text is just simple enough, with just enough repetition, to keep the younger set hooked. As a lawyer, I got a kick out of the "dispute resolution" - sadly, many of my colleagues don't negotiate half as well as the bovines in this book.
Click, Clack, Moo recently won the Caldecott award, and is very deserving of that honor. I enthusiastically endorse it for your children aged from 2 through 6. This book will be considered a classic children's tale within five years.
Many great children's books start from the point of view of role reversals. You take objects or animals and make them be like humans. But no one could have developed a funnier idea along those lines than having typing cows who lead a general strike on a farm.
"Farmer Brown has a problem. His cows like to type."
"All day long he hears. Click, clack, moo. Click, clack, moo. Clickety clack, moo."
"At first, he couldn't believe his ears."
But it gets worse. One day he receives a typewritten note that says:
"Dear Farmer Brown,
The barn is very cold at night. We'd like some electric blankets.
Farmer Brown makes the mistake of treating the cows like cows. He tells them, "No way." They type up a note and put it on the barn door. "Sorry. We're closed. No milk today."
The next day, another note appeared.
"Dear Farmer Brown,
The hens are cold too. They'd like electric blankets.
The negotiations continue toward a hilarious conclusion.
Each of these letters to Farmer Brown cannot help but inspire gales of uncontrollable laughter among your tykesters. The ending may actually cause laughter-induced pain because it is so hilarious.
The illustrations are particularly appealing. Ms. Lewin has drawn them to be large in features, vivid, bold, and colorful. They make the story more intense by capturing both a sense of movement and the personality of the characters. This is one of the best illustrated stories I have ever seen for preschoolers. That is important, because the illustrations carry a heavy burden as you first read this story to your child. No one has ever seen a typing cow, so the illustrations help fill in the gaps. Naturally, you will see opportunities to handle side issues like "how would a cow type, if a cow could type?"
Interestingly, Ms. Cronin is an attorney who also collects antique typewriters. Anyone who has ever been part of a labor negotiation will quickly recognize the universal truths around which she has structured this delightful story. I suspect that she has been part of one or two.
After you and your child become familiar with the story, I suggest that you think together about what is the right thing to do with regard to animals who do not send you typewritten letters. It is never too early for children to learn about each person's responsibility to live in harmony with our fellow creatures and to properly care for them.
May you always be clear about what you are looking for! Who knows? You may even get it.
on January 20, 2001
I'm 31-years-old and and am proud to say this is currently my most favorite book. It's absolutely hilarious and a delight to read! I laugh out loud every time I read it. The illustrations are quite striking, too. If you haven't taken the time to examine the illustrations closely, you may want to do so. You'll find some little surprises. My sister, a speech language pathologist (and former preschool teacher like myself), reads this book to her students. As I understand it, it's reportedly good for both articulation exercises as well as language development. Best of all, the kids simply love the story. My sister loved the book so much she insisted I read it. I did so, loved it, and consequently held it for "ransom." The majority of my psych colleagues and I even had a midday storytime to share this book with one another. ;) As a former preschool teacher, I can guarantee this book will be a sure-fire attention-getter with kids. As it stands, I consider my library incomplete until I get a copy of this book for my own. I can't wait until Ms. Cronin and Ms. Lewin bless us with another one of their wonderful stories. This book ranks right up there with the Dumb Bunnies in terms of wit and surprise illustrations. Happy reading and laughing!
on February 29, 2000
I heard "CLICK CLACK MOO" read aloud on National Public Radio and knew I had to have this book. Educational (the art of negotiation!), entertaining (animal sounds the young ones will enjoy)and clever, this one is a cross between Dr. Seuss and Gary Larsen's Far Side. Well written with hilarious illustrations. Don't pass this one by.
on October 25, 2001
Farmer Brown has a serious problem. His progressive cows are typing notes demanding electric blankets...or no milk! My 3 year old son's laughter at this book is contagious. It has spread to my almost 2 year old daughter who yells, "Moo!" from her crib. My 11 and 10 year old daughters readily volunteer to read it to the little ones so they can have the excuse of hearing the story and giggling for themselves. My husband and I chuckle from our room when we hear the peals of laughter coming from my son's room. In my opinion, Doreen Cronin has created a classic. This is one book that definitely needs to be added to the family library.
The cows on Farmer Brown's farm have discovered a typewriter. Soon, they're leaving notes for him demanding blankets to keep warm. But when he refuses to give in, they go on strike. Can a solution be found to return the cows to work?
This book is loads of fun. Read with the right seriousness, even adults will burst out laughing. Young kids will love the silly story line and wonderful illustrations.
This is a fun book that will become a bedtime favorite. Get it for your kids today. You'll both be glad you did.
on October 30, 2000
Farmer Brown is amazed when he realizes his cows have found an old typewriter and are using it. All day long he hears, Click Clack Moo, Click Clack Moo. Then, one day the cows leave a note tacked to the barn door demanding electric blankets...it's cold at night in the barn. Farmer Brown says, NO! The next day, the cows go on strike...NO MILK until we get the blankets. Pretty soon the typing begins again and this time the note tacked to the barn door asks for more electric blankets...the hens are cold too. When Farmer Brown ignores their demands, they go on strike with the cows. NO MILK, NO EGGS. Farmer Brown is beginning to panic. How can he run a farm with the cows and chickens on strike? So he gets out his trusty typewriter and writes a note, telling the cows and hens that he'll give them the blankets, if they turn over their typewriter. The note is delivered by a neutral party, the duck. An agreement is reached and Farmer Brown waits for the duck to bring him the cow's typewriter. Instead he begins to hear, Click Clack Quack, Click Clack Quack! Betsy Cronin has written a very funny, witty story that will amuse and delight your whole family. Her simple, silly story line is complimented perfectly, by Betsy Lewin's charming, expressive illustrations and youngsters will be laughing out loud at the antics of these farm animals. This is a great, imaginative book for kids aged 4-7 and a wonderful addition to all home libraries.
on February 20, 2000
CLICK, CLACK, MOO COWS THAT TYPE is outstanding. Doreen Cronin's snappy and punchy writing makes for a great read aloud! The surprise ending is crafty too! As a classroom resource, students can study onomatopoeia, letter writing and surprise endings. Teachers! Have your students take on the voice of another farm or zoo animal and write a letter demanding some creative luxury too! Betsy Lewin's pictures work well with the text. She even provides an artist's note about how she accomplished the effects in the book! All around, a unique and creative picture book!
on April 28, 2000
This is a wonderfully written book with great illustrations. I saw the review and wanted to get it for my union local's library. Everyone who's read it (so far, no one under the age of 30) thinks it's great - funny, witty, and frank! A clear explanation about the power of solidarity! A must read for all ages. Here's my guilty confession: it's fun to read out loud. I found that out by reading it to my husband!
*Edit - several years later* I now have a child, 3 1/2, and she loves the whole series of Doreen Cronin books, Cows that Type, Ducks that Giggle and run for President. Dr. Seuss, Doreen Cronin's books and the Eloise series are a great start to any child's library.
on May 13, 2001
This book is hilarious!! As a writer, I picked up _Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type_ quite by accident (it was featured in the NYPL's Library Store) and was thoroughly entertained for a good 5 minutes. It's a book you'd want to read again and again, whether to a youngster or to yourself. It's got all the elements of a good story: repetition, suspense, humor (I loved how the duck was a neutral party), and a surprise ending. Those cows have got real personality--though I have to say the farmer was drawn a little too unsympathetically. All in all this is a great book for anyone who needs a laugh. What kid wouldn't bug her parents for a typewriter of her own after reading _Cows That Type_? A great book that encourages writing, creativity, the art of persuasion, and the power of the individual voice (or in this case, the collective voice!).