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The Illustrated Guide to Cows    by Celia Lewis order for
Illustrated Guide to Cows
by Celia Lewis
Order:  USA  Can
Bloomsbury, 2014 (2014)
* * *   Reviewed by Rheta Van Winkle

The Illustrated Guide to Cows is written and illustrated by Celia Lewis, an artist who lives in rural England on a farm where she raises chickens and turkeys. This book is part of a series that she wrote, which includes similar guides to chickens, pigs, ducks, geese and other domestic fowl. Although Lewis writes about all things cows, the delight of this book lies in her illustrations.

At the beginning of the book, Lewis gives information that a person who is thinking of acquiring cows would need, regarding feeding and housing them and the rules and regulations in the UK for registering your cattle, notifying the authorities of illness or death, keeping careful records, and what you can expect in the way of inspections. There is a lot of information needed whether you wanted to start a small dairy or beef herd or just acquire one cow. She writes about common ailments, how to handle stock, breeding and calving. Finally, she illustrates and profiles many breeds, mostly those found in the UK, but also a few from other countries, especially in Europe and America.

Lewis's illustrations of the different breeds are wonderful and include a picture of a head, as well as a picture of a fully grown cow and sometimes a calf. The breeds of cows are so distinctive one from another and, although she writes about which ones produce the best beef, looking at these lovely beasts made me want to become a vegetarian. She mentions the friendliness and calm temperaments of many of the breeds, and often the pictures of the cow's heads are looking at the reader with soft, brown eyes that seem tender. Some of the dairy cattle are raised for milk and cream, others for the good cheese that's made from their milk.

I enjoyed reading about all the different kinds of cows, where certain breeds thrive, and how they have benefitted farmers and people over the years, but I especially enjoyed looking at the illustrations.

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