- Cowie by Elizabeth Rose Stanton
Stanton, Elizabeth Rose Cowie; written and illus. by Elizabeth Rose Stanton. Wiseman/Simon, 2020 [40p] Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-5344-2174-5 $17.99 E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-5344-2175-2 $10.99 Reviewed from galleys Ad 3-6 yrs
Cowie is a donkey who loves cows, with their sweet, soulful eyes, and their quiet, serene nature, so one day, he decides he's leaving his donkey days behind him to join the peaceful bovines. Acting like a cow isn't enough to make him a cow, though, and most humiliating is his attempt to moo, which produces an unsatisfying "Oom." His farmyard pals try to cheer him up by making their own sounds backward (which is actually quite difficult with quack and squeak), but Cowie is still in the dumps—until Mousie realizes that turning Cowie around converts oom to moo. The text rambles somewhat and the solution of physically turning Cowie to evoke the desired sound is a bit of a head scratcher; plenty of savvy viewers will see the gaping hole in the animals' plan (what happens when he needs to move in a different direction?). Cowie is a sympathetic protagonist, however, his violet-hued, rounded figure and beguiling expression echoing the look of Milne's Eeyore. Soft lined and dappled watercolor keep the tone gentle and cozy, while expansive white space puts the farm happenings front and center. In the pantheon of books about animals longing to be other animals, this one doesn't quite stack up, but Cowie and his cadre of cute friends might be enough to sustain a storytime.