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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Tao of Cow, July 19, 2005
By 
JELeary (Somerville, MA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Cows Going Past (Dial Books for Young Readers) (Hardcover)
A legendary three-panel "Far Side" episode begins with a herd of cattle standing upright, like humans, in a roadside meadow, talking. One steer, the lookout, yells, "CAR!" and the kine quickly get down on all fours and graze at clover. Once the car has passed, they resume their bipedal socializing. Was Gary Larson right? Are cattle really "onto" us? If your child is a city kid or a 'burb brat, she or he may never have seen cows and bulls except for the occasional fleeting glance out the car window during a family outing. She or he could easily be forgiven the impression that they are as stolid as they are solid. Sedentary. Subordinate. Stupid. Bruce Balen and illustrator Scott Nash want to banish our cowhidebound preconceptions about bovinity.

Their new children's picture book "Cows Going Past" might as easily have been titled "No Bull," but the entire cast is female. They might not all look overly feminine, but cows are cows, and cows are female. (Where are the fellas? Possibly they're all off at Wrestlemania or at a tractor pull somewhere.) Another preconception we are implicitly asked to readdress is our notion that cows are endowed with, um, udders. *These* cows are strictly dairy-free. This is not because Mr. Nash is nescient of dugs anatomy, for the cow diva of the Nash-illustrated "Over the Moon" was udderly magnificent. I can only conclude that since Janet Jackson's Superbowl surprise, the forces of repression and censorship have prevailed. Regrettable, but hardly ruinous.

For "Cows Going Past" is one lively celebration of livestock. Very simple, very brief text, ideal for beginning readers. Understand this: the cows depicted therein are by no means your stereotypical dull, ruminative ungulates, stoically waiting out their prehamburger days, languidly tongueing salt licks, masticating cuds, caudally flagellating flies. These cows are pro-active. They're living in the moment. Feeling their oats. They're not abattoir-obsessed, no sir. No slaughterhouse jive for *these* Jersey girls. They're movers. They're shakers. Comfortable in their hide. They push lawnmowers. They indulge in giddy pastoral terpischore. They get in your face. They play softball. They disport at the seashore (after applying sunblock -- cows have understandable cause to be terrified of "leathery" skin). They rock out in combos.

All of this bovid activity is witnessed by a young boy from the vantage point of the backseat of his parents' sedan. By and by, evening descends, and a prolonged period of crepuscular farewells ensues. The book gently shades into what we might call "Goodnight Moo!" Safely home and in bed, buzzed after his exhilarating exposure to vivacious cowry, he slips into slumberland.

Will "Cows Going Past" function as a toddler sedative, as perhaps it is intended to? Or will it stimulate kids into the dread wide-eyed "read it again, Mommy!!" mode? Maybe the latter, but the book is brevity itself, so despair not.

"Cows Going Past" is a neat story. Literally.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cows passing by - works like a lullaby, November 12, 2006
By 
This review is from: Cows Going Past (Dial Books for Young Readers) (Hardcover)
Come along for a ride in the family car, and see the country side passing by. Best of all are the cows. They come in different colors and do all sorts of funny things. Watch things going by all day from long from a window in the car. Then, come back home, get tucked in safely in your bed, and say good bye to all the friendly cows you have seen. Do cows dream too?

This basic concept book can be used to introduce colors, numbers and cows. Its main intent seems to be to get a preschool age child to sleep though. The straightforward illustrations kept in calming earth tone colors go along nicely with the easy to understand, unpretentious, semi-rhymed text. The simplicity and shortness of the tale, the repetitive rhyme and large font text makes this a fine bedtime story to be read by a parent and a young child.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seductive, multi-purpose charmer, December 3, 2005
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This review is from: Cows Going Past (Dial Books for Young Readers) (Hardcover)
A book that could be regarded as a concept book to teach colors, as an apt amusement on a car ride, as a bed-time story (it winds down to a slower pace as the journey ends) -- a parent who wanted to could even use the simple but appealing illustrations to let it become a counting book. ("How many cows are on THIS page?") The important thing to note, however, is that it's fun to read aloud! Both the unpretentious voice (a casual sort of semi-metered semi-rhyme) and the equally unassuming art have an odd charm. Children will enjoy searching out details: the fish tiptoeing from the stream rob worms from the bait can of cows who have fallen asleep fishing; the fact that the black cows in the black night are engaged in catching fire-flies.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love Those Cows, December 3, 2007
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This review is from: Cows Going Past (Dial Books for Young Readers) (Hardcover)
My 2 1/2 year-old son is obsessed with cows. We first picked this book up at the local library, and he was asking to read it several times per day. This is a fantastic book to introduce not only basic concepts to kids, but I also used it to present a bit of poetic rhythm as we read. In fact, we loved it so much that I'm buying it for him for Christmas.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I can recite it from memory., April 20, 2013
By 
JakeMom (Ormond Beach, FL) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Cows Going Past (Dial Books for Young Readers) (Hardcover)
I read this book to my son at least twice a day for more than a year. He loved it, loved it, loved it. It was his naptime, bedtime ritual. Simple, with fun illustrations, just a great book for 1-3.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fun for everyone, October 3, 2007
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This review is from: Cows Going Past (Dial Books for Young Readers) (Hardcover)
Our whole family loves Cows Going Past! It has a nice rhyme and flow to it. The pictures are fun for the kids to look at and we get to hear 'Mooooo' on every page! I would recommend it for a baby shower gift or for a 1st birthday present. Enjoy mooing your way through!
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5.0 out of 5 stars My son's favorite book, July 27, 2009
This review is from: Cows Going Past (Dial Books for Young Readers) (Hardcover)
My 17 month old son loves this book and makes me read it to him over and over again.
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Cows Going Past (Dial Books for Young Readers)
Cows Going Past (Dial Books for Young Readers) by Bruce Balan (Hardcover - May 19, 2005)
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