When Pig and Mouse whip up a birthday cake for their friend, Cow, goofy pal Duck persistently tries to include a turnip in some part, any part, of the proceedings. [End Page 497] After the baking duo refuses, understandably, to add the turnip to the cake's ingredients, Duck suggests they use it as a mixing utensil or a festive cake topper ("No TURNIPS, Duck! CANDLES!!!" bellows exasperated Mouse). The friends proudly present their culinary masterpiece to Cow, who, it turns out, only has eyes for Duck's turnip; no matter, though, since Pig and Mouse consume the cake, Cow devours the turnip (while Duck flashes two thumbs up), and everyone's satisfied. Sure, the plot may be minimal, but that's beside the point; it's the unabashed silliness that's the real attraction here. Even the endpapers carry the humor along: in the final spread, Duck remarks thoughtfully, "Sometimes I brush my teeth using a turnip," to which Cow responds, "Really? Me, too!" Thomas's illustrations are chunky blocks of flat pastel color, thickly outlined with navy, which, along with numerous word balloons that practically explode from characters' mouths, give the book a comic-strip or cartoon sensibility in keeping with the lively tone of the text. Large print and small amounts of it per page will entice emergent readers, and the boldness of the illustrations and amusing content make this an easy choice for group sharing, too.
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Thomas, Jan; A Birthday for Cow!; written and illus. by Jan Thomas. Harcourt, 2008 38p ISBN 978-0-15-206072-5 $12.95 R 4-6 yrs
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