About the Holiday
The brainstorm of the Chik-Fil-A Company as a clever advertising ploy to herd customers to the chicken side of things, Cow Appreciation Day, also gives us an opportunity to really think about the importance of cattle to the world as a food source and source of material from earliest times. Cows have also long been beloved characters in children’s books, inspiring laughs, empathy, and imagination – as in today’s book!
The Cow Who Climbed a Tree
By Gemma Merino
Tina is a very unique cow. Unlike her sisters who are only interested in “fresh and juicy grass,” Tina is very curious and always inventing new ideas. Her sisters proclaim her notions “‘Impossible! Ridiculous! And Nonsense!’” One day while exploring the woods, Tina decides to climb a tree. Branch by branch she swings herself to the top. Up there among the owls and squirrels Tina discovers a dragon—a friendly one, and a vegetarian to boot!
“All afternoon they talked about wonderful dreams and incredible stories.” Tina is excited to tell her sisters, but when she gets home they aren’t impressed. The whole idea of cows climbing trees and dragons is “‘Impossible! Ridiculous! And Nonsense!’” The next morning Tina never shows up for breakfast. Her sisters find a note that reads “Gone flying with the Dragon of the Woods.”
Her sisters decided this nonsense has to stop, so they head out to find her. As they leave behind their familiar farmland and enter the forest, they can’t believe how beautiful it is. Suddenly a pig wearing a backpack dashes past them and shimmies up a tree. Even though they consider this “impossible,” one sister follows the pig. The others join her. From a treetop branch the three find that “the world beyond the fields was extraordinary.”
Still, Tina is nowhere to be found. The sisters look left, right, down, and up. Up! “It was impossible. It was ridiculous. It was nonsense. But it was true! Tina was flying!” She and other animals are taking flying lessons from the dragon, and while they don’t have wings, they soar just fine with a little help. From her lofty place, Tina asks her sisters to join her, and they say something she has never heard before: “Yes, why not?” They float, drift, and glide in the sunlit sky, and ever afterward find that nothing is “impossible, ridiculous, or nonsense.” Now all four sisters can’t wait to see what else is possible.
Gemma Merino’s mooving tribute to people who live and dream large will inspire young children to reach for the treetops and beyond. The plucky heroine who doesn’t cower under her sisters’ reproach is a confident and likable role model, happy to include her sisters when they finally see the light. Merino’s sweet, soft-hued illustrations humorously depict the dichotomy between the sisters’ grass-focused existence and Tina’s vivid imagination. The cows’ home has sage green walls, furniture, and floors.
The pictures on the walls, the flowerpot on the windowsill, and the planter are all full of various types of vegetation, and the jars in the pantry contain such ingredients as Pickled Leaves, Meadow Mix, Dried Petals, and Herbal Tea. But Tina’s imagination and the forest she loves to visit are infused with reds, ambers, blues, and teals; even the greens are more brilliant. For anyone contemplating the unknown, The Cow Who Climbed a Tree is rousing fun!
Ages 4 – 7
Albert Whitman & Company, 2016 | ISBN 978-0807512982
To learn more about Gemma Merino and her books visit her website!
Cow Appreciation Day Activity
Moo Cow Mug
Milk—regular or chocolate!—will taste so much better in a Moo Cow Mug you make yourself!
- White ceramic mug, available at craft stores
- Black permanent marker or paint for ceramics
- Pink permanent marker or paint for ceramics
- Brown permanent marker or paint for ceramics
- With the pink marker or paint, draw an oval shape for the nose near the bottom of the mug. Let dry.
- With the brown marker or paint, draw two angled nostrils inside the pink oval and color them in. Let dry.
- Color in the nose with the pink marker or paint.
- With the black marker, color the top tip of the handle where it meets the mug to make the tail.
- With the black marker or paint, draw two wavy lines on either side of the face starting at the top, angling toward the middle and returning to the bottom of the mug. Leave white space between the lines.
- Draw circles for eyes within the black lines. Add black pupils at the bottom of the eyes.
- Color inside the black lines and around the eyes to make the face markings.
- With the black marker or paint, make two or three splotches on the back of the mug.
- Let the mug dry and follow the directions for the markers or paint to set the color.
- Pour yourself a mug of milk and enjoy!
You can find The Cow Who Climbed a Tree at these booksellers
Picture Book Review