Monday, June 11, 2007


Book Review: Picture Book - Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type

Cronin, Doreen. 2003 Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type. Ill. by Betsy Lewin. New York: Simon & Schuster Children’s. Books. ISBN 0689832133

When Farmer Brown refuses to meet the demand of the cows on his farm for electric blankets, they go on strike posting a typed notice to the barn door that there will be no more milk. The next day another typed notice adds that the hens also would like electric blankets and that no eggs will be forthcoming. Farmer Brown submits his own demand for eggs and milk via a message by duck, a neutral party. Duck delivers an agreement from the cows to hand over their typewriter in exchange for electric blankets to be left at the barn door. But the duck who is to deliver the typewriter delivers instead a typed demand by the ducks that Farmer Brown provide them a diving board.

This Caldecott Honor book delights readers with its understated humor. Betty Lewin’s line and water color illustrations enhance the story as the plot presents repeated surprises—first from farm animals typing and making demands to the final twist of the duck’s demand. This story has a lot to say about communication. And the illustrations of the personified farm animals lend a great deal to conveying the attitudes and emotions of the farm animals as well as those of Farmer Brown. (Some students may not be familiar with manual typewriters—or typewriters period for that matter.)

REVIEW EXCERPTS: Horn Book (March/April, 2000)
The story is told in economical prose, with the typewritten notes blended smoothly into the text. Betsy Lewin's illustrations, splashy watercolor washes, follow Farmer Brown from perplexed to perturbed, with his angry reaction to the cows' demands silhouetted against the barn door while the animals peek out with bovine passivity.

They may have never heard the racket of a real typewriter, but they will certainly be familiar with the art of negotiation, and will soon be chanting along: "Click, clack, moo. Click, clack, moo. Clickety, clack, moo."

This book can be used to discuss the negotiation and communication required in personal disagreements or civil disputes or simply read for the fun and pleasure of the unusual storyline itself.
Other books by the Cronin/Lewin team:

Click clack, quackity-quack : an alphabet adventure
Click, clack, splish, splash : a counting adventure
Duck for president
Giggle, giggle, quack

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