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The Cow on the Roof Hardcover – February 23, 2006

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"What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig"
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreS–Maddern recasts this familiar folktale in Wales. Shon, a farmer, decides that he works much harder than his wife, Sian. When she tires of his complaints and suggests that they switch roles for a day, he eagerly takes her up on her offer. Of course, he soon finds out that her work is not so easy. Through a series of unfortunate events, the pig laps up the cream that he was churning into butter, the chickens eat the oats for porridge, the ale is lost, and the cow ends up hanging off the roof. An early version appears in P. C. Asbjørnsen's collection of Norwegian tales, East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon and Other Fairy Tales (Dover, 1996). Another is Wanda Gág's 1935 picture book, which is echoed in this text as Shon's (and Sian's) somewhat philosophical response to the losses: Oh well, gone is gone. The tale is simply and elegantly retold here, but no source notes are given; there is only a mention of how to pronounce the Welsh names. Maddern often reinforces ideas in threes, such as when Shon responds to Sian's proposal: Great!…I'll have a rest, I'll have a holiday, I'll have a day off! Hess's droll, folksy watercolors are bright and humorous. Abstract art and modern furniture decorate a traditional thatch-covered cottage. Heart shapes in the door, chair, gate, and trees emphasize the underlying feeling of domestic felicity. A fine addition for storytime sharing.–Robin L. Gibson, Granville Parent Cooperative Preschool, OH
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Review

The events in this story are comical, and the repetition of the phrase "gone is gone" teaches a lesson in itself as one thing after another goes wrong. Children will listen in suspense as they try to figure out just what unfortunate event will happen next and the illustrations reveal something new every time you see them. Pay close attention to Shon's shirt if you don't believe me. www.writeaway.org.uk A funny story with wonderful illustrations, children will love to read this slapstick tale over and over! www.bettybookmark.co.uk Who works harder, Shon or Sian? Shon thinks he does while his wife lazes about at home. So they decide to swap. Sian goes out to work in the fields while Shon takes care of the house. And what a tangle he gets into as the pig licks up the cream, the ale floods the cellar and he falls head first into the porridge after he's put the cow to graze on the roof. Some classic hapless disasters in this stylish retelling of a familiar folktale Book Ahead 0-7 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Bks (February 23, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845073746
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845073749
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.9 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,613,897 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is one of my favourite books by the Maddern/Hess team. The Welsh version of the Cow on the Roof is told so subtly and in such a dry manner by veteran storyteller Eric Maddern that is made all the more powerful by the vibrant and colourful illustrations by Paul Hess. We know the story, but hear the words deeply as Shon tries so poorly to run the house. It seems so easy for Sian. Meanwhile she does his job out in the fields with little effort. The wife appears strong and calm and patient with her droll incapable husband. Sian also appears in the same outfit, quite the contrary to Shon, who wears a different patterned shirt on each page. The story is dramatic in it's spacious telling and the illustrations need to be slowly absorbed to take in all the sumptuous details, such as the three blind mice!
Great book, fun read. Kids love it. Popular at my town library.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My granddaughter loves this book. We have read it many times and always find lots to talk about--ranging from the shrugged, "gone is gone," to speculating about why trees and chairs are heart-shaped. This is a delightful reading experience.
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By LH on April 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The story is an old one, the illustrations are wonderful and have updated this tale. "Gone is gone." is said over and over as the man realizes how valuable woman's work really is.
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