Review: Moo, Moo, Brown Cow, Have You Any Milk? by Phillis Gershator

moo moo brown cow

Moo, Moo, Brown Cow! Have You Any Milk? by Phillis Gershator, illustrated by Giselle Potter

An extended version of Baa, Baa, Black Sheep, this book adds new verses with additional animals.  It begins with the traditional rhyme which then changes a little with the wool becoming a blanket for the little boy’s bed.  The goose provides down for a pillow.  The hen has eggs, the bee honey, and the cow milk, which all make a perfect bedtime snack.  The animals then all head to bed too, and readers are left with the boy fast asleep in his bed with his stuffed animals tucked in close with him: a sheep, goose, hen, and cow.

Gershator has used the same rhythm as the original and it all fits nicely into the song pattern as well, so this book can be sung too.  With each new animal, she gently offers up the noise the animal makes, what that animal provides, and then a use for that product.  It’s a pleasant look at animals, farming and the connection between farm and end product. 

Potter’s illustrations have a wonderful folkart aspect to them that adds a timelessness to the entire book.  For a new version of a beloved nursery rhyme, this is just the right art to set the tone. 

This book is a solid addition to nursery rhyme collections.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: Hornbooks and Inkwells by Verla Kay

hornbooks and inkwells

Hornbooks and Inkwells by Verla Kay, illustrated by S. D. Schindler

Head to school with brothers Peter and John Paul in this picture book that shows school days in the 18th century.  The one-room school has hard benches where the children learn math, history and their alphabet.  Punishments for misbehaving are being struck with the rod or wearing neck yokes, as both Peter and John Paul find out.  As winter comes, there is skating on the pond and hauling wood for the schoolroom fire.  With spring, the children are learning more and more, but leave school with the same bursts of energy they started with.

According to the Author’s Note, this book is based on Christopher Docks’ mid-1700s school.  He not only taught the normal courses, but included morals, safety, health, courtesy and social attitudes. The book is written in rhyming verse that reads easily.  The verse captures the activities of the days at school.

Schindler’s illustrations are detailed and really point out the differences between schools today and in the 18th century.   The illustrations have natural colors that offer a feel of life in the past.

A wonderful marriage of picture book and historical content, this book will be appreciated by children studying history as well as the history of studying.  Children returning to school this fall will also appreciate that they go to modern schools.  Appropriate for ages 6-9.

Reviewed from copy received from G. P. Putnam’s Sons.

Also reviewed by The Places You Will Go.