Prudence the Part-Time Cow by Jody Jensen Shaffer (review)
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Reviewed by
Kate Quealy-Gainer, Assistant Editor
Shaffer, Jody Jensen Prudence the Part-Time Cow; illus. by Stephanie Laberis. Holt, 2017[32p]
ISBN 978-1-62779-615-6 $16.99
Reviewed from galleys Ad 4–7 yrs

As much as she tries, Prudence just can’t be a “full-time cow.” Sure, she can graze and swat flies with the best of them, but she can’t resist her urges to learn, invent, and create. The other farm animals are unimpressed by her calculation of wind speed at the pond and thoroughly annoyed by her invention of a stall-to-stall communication (“Keep it down. You’re giving the herd a bad rep with the chicks”). Will she ever fit in? Of course she does, but what finally earns her a place in the herd is somewhat galling; she creates helpful things for the very animals that shunned her and the underlying message seems to be that to fit in, one must happily acquiesce to the needs of others. Still, Prudence makes a charming heroine, with a pink poof upon her head and spots more purple than brown, and it’s hard not to root for a happy ending for the lovable bovine. Brushlike swoops give texture and richness to the digital art, and the rotund, cartoonish cows (udders and all) have an appealing goofiness, particularly giddy Prudence as she geeks out over her books The Science of Milking or Bovine Engineering. While the takeaway is a bit questionable, this could certainly make an a-moo-sing addition to a STEM storytime. [End Page 469]

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