From School Library Journal
K-Gr 2–Effie wants to go to the state fair. "She dreamed of being beautiful, of billowing blue ribbons and big, bodacious barns." Her friend Petunia Pig helps her prepare for the big day. Effie is told she needs to get in shape, curl her hair, change her spots, paint her hooves, glue on a fake tail, and change her walk. The cow is not totally convinced all this is necessary, but goes along with the transformation. When she gets to the fair, she sees all the other cows and thinks they are more beautiful than even her new, improved self. She is disheartened, and on the long walk to the show barn she reverts to her old habits, such as frolicking in the breeze (messes the hair), eating grass (turns teeth green), and drinking from the pond (bloats the belly). Soon her makeover is undone. Despite that, Effie returns home sporting a blue ribbon for Best Milk. The acrylic on paper illustrations are large, bright, and humorous. The animals' faces are quite expressive, clearly showing the personalities of the snooty cows and the overeager pig. This book will work well for storytimes about barnyard antics and for those always-be-yourself lessons. Besides that, it's just plain fun.Ieva Bates, Ann Arbor District Library, MI
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Effie the cow loves life on her farm, but she also dreams of being a beautiful state-fair prizewinner, and she decides that she needs a makeover. Her friend Petunia the pig helps by putting giant rollers in Effie’s fur and painting her four big hooves bright red. But after Effie gets to the fair and sees all the snooty, glamorous competitors, she feels sick to all four parts of her stomach, and she returns to her old messy grazing habits. A surprise comes in the end when she does get a blue ribbon after all, for “Best Milk.” The bright, cartoon-style acrylic artwork combines many scenes on each page, and children will enjoy all the hilarious scenarios: Petunia with a hairdryer; Effie working out on a treadmill and holding a flowered sunshade. The blend of farmyard and trendy beauty rituals is a winning combination, and some children may even get a few of the more sophisticated puns, including the publications Vanity State Fair and Cowsmo. Preschool-Grade 2. --Hazel Rochman