May 2, 2017

Prudence the Cow Is Not Cowed by the Herd!

Cows are, by definition, herd animals. Conventionally, they are also considered docile. Even, dare I say, boring?  Cows, one would presume, spend their days and nights dozing, grazing, chewing cud, and zoning out during twice-daily milking. In some more imaginative scenarios, they might moo along to mood music piped into milking parlors. Otherwise, a cow is a cow is a cow, unless...

You're speaking of the adventurous cow in MOO!, written by David LaRochelle and illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka.

Or, if you're inspired by the rebellious cow in Jill Esbaum's I AM COW, HEAR ME MOO!  with lively illustrations by Gus Gordon.
Henry Holt & Co. BYR, 2017

In each case, (and several others), authors embrace the rebellious side of cows, often sending them exploring, escaping, or even rabble-rousing.

The latest portrayal of a non-conforming cow can be found in PRUDENCE the PART-TIME COW, written by prolific author Jody Jensen Shaffer and illustrated by Stephanie Laberis. (Release date, June 13, 2017)
In her case, Prudence has an inventive and creative drive, but her herding instincts remain firmly intact. Her herdmates, however, are less than approving, registering disdain and outright disapproval for this other-than-"normal" bovine who is disrupting their routines. Prudence associates and participates, but always notches her engagement up a level or two, (or more), looking for improvements and refinements to those routines. 
Her projects and suggestions invite criticism if not outright bullying. Prudence reads, calculates, analyzes, designs, constructs, and otherwise multitasks during their grazing, shading, pool-standing routines. Prudence is an innovator, that's for sure.

These endeavors and reactions are portrayed with a blend of clever text and comically odd illustrations. Anyone who has ever waxed poetic about the moo-dy, dreamy eyes of cows will enjoy the expressive eyes of Prudence and her peers. The other cows reveal disdain to the extent that you can imagine eye-rolling as their next step, while Prudence's gaze reveals boredom, enthusiasm, dismay, determination, hopefulness, and satisfaction. Wordplay is equally clever, as are the "extra-cow-ricular" pursuits of this very intelligent cow. 

This is an original take on a non-conforming cow, incorporating elements of peer-pressure and bullying, expressing individuality, and adding a dose of STEM topics into the mix. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Prudence and her herd are cows you'll want to meet.

An advance copy of the book was provided in exchange for my honest review.


  1. Thanks so much for the enthusiastic endorsement, Sandy! A pink pompadour for all!

  2. What's more fun than a clever, creative cow? A clever, creative cow with a pink pompadour! Congrats on this newest picture book, Jody, and thanks for stopping by!

  3. I love the idea of a bovine that goes beyond and is herself. Can't wait it read this.

  4. I agree, Kathy. no one should rein in creativity and curiosity, especially a strong woman. I especially liked that she used her talents and thinking to win over the herd rather than opt for isolated endeavors. Thanks for stopping!


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