Posted by: Natalie | June 22, 2010

Click, Clack, Moo; Cows That Type

No! I still haven’t finished this book – I’m guessing that the fact I still have over 150 pages left to read means I am not completely enthralled with Gregory Maguire’s take on the Cinderella story. I am bored and I keep wanting to put it down but I seem to have grown stubborn – I am determined to get to the end even if it puts me in a coma!

So, as I have nothing really to say just yet on my current read, I thought I would share with you an awesome kid’s books which cannot fail but make you smile!

When I started my PGCE, we were asked to find a children’s book we didn’t think anyone else in the ‘class’ would have read. I bought Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin. It may have been born out of my slight obsession with all things farm orientated (specifically comical bovines) but I quickly fell in love with this book and know one day when I have my own children, I will inflict it upon them at any given opportunity!

The story stars Farmer Brown and his rather radical and left wing farm animals! The cows find an old typewriter in the barn and all day type away,

Click, clack, moo.
Click, clack, moo.
Clickety, clack, moo.

But, before long, this little hobby of their’s soon becomes a plan! The cows demand electric blankets for the cold barn nights. Farmer Brown, outraged, obviously declines and the cows go on strike! They simply leave a typed message pinned to the barn door explaining that there will be no milk today. As with any good negotiations, the cows up their demands asking that the hens have blankets supplied also. When this does not materialise? You guessed it, the hens go on strike too!

Farmer Brown has no option but to use his own typewriter to send an ultimatum to the cows and hens. My favourite line of the whole book just might be:

Duck was a neutral party, so he brought the ultimatum to the cows.

I love the fact that duck is a ‘neutral party’! Ok, maybe I’m the only one who’s entertained! Anyhoo, the cattle and other barn dwellers have an emergency meeting that night and type their final message. They agree to trade their typewriter for the electric blankets and return to producing milk and eggs, respectively. Farmer Brown cannot believe his luck and instantly agrees, however, he does not anticipate the following day’s crisis – the ducks have found the typewriter!

It is such a simple concept but stunningly well done! Lewin’s illustrations are fun and playful, bright and engaging and fit perfectly with Conin’s words. Not only is it a joy to read as a grown up, but as a teaching tool I can imagine it’s superb; the book lends itself well to letter writing and its associated language as well as tackle the idea of striking, bartering and the potential outcomes. It also sets up perfectly for writing ‘the next chapter’ about the ducks as well as providing opportunity for a rewrite from another character’s view point. These few ideas are by no means the limit, but just those that spring instantly to mind!

One of the reasons I loved this book was how Steve would read it to me! He puts on voices for the various characters and adds little asides of his own – very entertaining! But it made me want to buy more! The Cronin-Lewin tag team also wrote Giggle, Giggle, Quack (which I own) and I understand there is a third farm yard instalment in, Thump, Quack, Moo.

If you find yourself wandering around the children’s section of a book store over the coming weeks, have a browse, and pick out one of Doreen Cronin’s books. They are wonderful, carefree and will not fail to make you giggle!


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