Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Board Book
Dadblamed Union Army Cow

Dadblamed Union Army Cow

Fall 2007 Board Book
Ages: Infant
Author: Susan Fletcher
Illustrator: Kimberly Bulcken Root
Distributor: Candlewick Press
ISBN: 9780763622633
Hardcover Price: $16.99
As if life isn't hard enough for a soldier in the Civil War, the narrator of this story also has to contend with a "dadblamed cow" that just won't "git." When a young man enlists with the Union army, his stubbornly loyal cow follows him all the way from the farm to the battlefield. She's a nuisance to the regiment, getting stuck in the mud and panicking at the sound of cannon-fire. But still, everyone has to admit that she comes in mighty useful at times, providing warmth and milk to cold and hungry soldiers. Susan Fletcher's story is a folksy, funny look at a notoriously grim period in history, and the exasperated voice of her narrator rings true. In fact, an interesting note at the end of the story reveals that there is in fact truth to what reads like an American tall tale-from 1862 to 1865, a cow traveled with a regiment of Indiana Volunteers, traveling hundreds of miles and bearing witness to "a hundred engagements and skirmishes." As malnourishment and undernourishment were rampant during the war, that cow's milk is credited for saving the lives of the soldiers in her regiment. Kimberly Bulcken Root's pencil and watercolor illustrations reflect the text's folksy vibe, and her cow is full of personality; the "cowhide" endpapers are a nice touch as well.
Zarina Mullan Plath   ©2007 Parents' Choice
Zarina Mullan Plath has undergraduate degrees in both biology and English. Her interests include cookbooks/culinary history, South Asian literature (especially in regards to South Asians in America), and, of course, children's literature. Her poetry is included in the anthology Sweeping Beauty (U. of Iowa Press, 2005). Zarina lives in Central Illinois with her husband, two children, and assorted pets.

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Candlewick Press

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