Most dairy cows are content to stand and graze and chew. But not Moo. She forsakes her life of "waving wheat" for ocean waves in Lisa Wheeler and Ponder Goembel's witty and wonderful rhyming picture book Sailor Moo: Cow at Sea
. Children will be immediately swept up in the story of a cow who seeks bluer pastures and hoofs it to the bay: "Yo-ho-ho / And a shiver-me-be / Whoever heard of a cow at sea?" The feline crew of a fishing boat agrees to take Moo on board if she will pay her way in fresh milk. It's a deal: "Moo loved the way the ocean sang. / 'Like moo-sic,' she would utter, / as rocking, rolling ocean waves / would churn her milk to butter." Once aboard, she befriends her sea cousins, the manatees, which turns out to be fortuitous--when she's thrown overboard in a "sudden, savage gale," they come to her rescue. But, what's this? The goggle-sporting sea cows take her to a crusty cattle barge of pirates led by Red Angus! Moo is dismayed: "Moo's heart was pure, so she was sure / it must be a mistake. / Looting steers? Cow buccaneers? / She felt her stomachs ache...." But when Red Angus gazes into Moo's eyes, his heart warms and his rough edges smooth: "In Moo he'd seen his dairy queen / and now he must reform." Adventure, romance, and darn-good storytelling combine with perfect meter, delightful puns (milk it, Lisa!), and fantastically lively, artful, and expressive illustrations to make this one of our favorite picture books of the year. Highly recommended. (Ages 3 to 7) --Karin Snelson
From Publishers Weekly
Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of milk? Yes, the creamy white drink plays a role in this bouncy bovine picture book, in which a cow finds adventure and true love on the high seas. Compelled to follow her dreams, dairy cow Moo leaves behind the farm's fields of waving wheat for the rollicking waves of the ocean. A stint as galley cook to the feline crew of the Cat's Meow is cut short by a storm that tosses Moo "into the brew" where she is quickly rescued by a pair of her cousins, the sea cows, and escorted to a cattle barge. But the gang with studded ears on board turns out to be a bunch of "looting steers cow buccaneers." Luckily Moo wins the heart of captain Red Angus and encourages him to abandon his pirate ways for married life on the Jersey shore. Wheeler's (Wool Gathering: A Sheep Family Reunion) rhyming verse, filled with silly cow puns, features a breathlessly outr story line. Goembel's (Hi, Pizza Man!) dusky acrylics introduce a cast of bipedal critters who teeter wildly between anthropomorphism and realism, upping the humor considerably. The goggle-sporting manatees and hook-handed cat captain Silver Claw will likely have readers giggling. Ages 3-7.
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