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Something to Tell the Grandcows    by Eileen Spinelli & Bill Slavin order for
Something to Tell the Grandcows
by Eileen Spinelli
Order:  USA  Can
Eerdmans, 2006 (2004)
Hardcover, Softcover
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

Everyone needs a story to tell the grandchildren, even cows. According to the author's note, cows did indeed accompany Richard Byrd on his expedition to Antarctica in 1933. Emmadine was one of those cows, and she proudly relates her experiences to her grandcows (and the reader).

She tells them, in great detail, how she was plucked from the farm, along with several other animals, and shipped off to a very, very cold place. Not knowing if she would ever return and fighting homesickness, she spent her time collecting stories, thinking, 'Oh, wouldn't the grandcows be amazed.' The book's concept is certainly original, and the storytelling is vivid in language: 'Emmadine's breath turned to ice crystals. Her teeth chattered like spoons. She wished she were home swatting horseflies.' Emmadine's tales of exciting adventures serve to introduce children to the South Pole, a subject not normally covered in children's books.

The artist has managed to convey just the right expressions on the animal's faces with his acrylic illustrations. My favorites are the picture of Emmadine wearing a striped uddermuff knitted for her by Georgetta the pig, and pictures of Emmadine teaching the cowherd to dance (the tango, polka, and hoochy-coochy, to be specific). The author also did a nice job of displaying the love that grandparents have for their grandchildren.

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