Reading/Interest Level: Toddler
Author: John Himmelman
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Who knew that farm animals had a sense of humor and were so smart? A cat wants to come inside from the rain, so it stands at the door and meows until the farmer's wife opens the door and lets it in. The cow hears the cat and decides to try to the same thing, standing in front of the door and saying "meow." The pig sees the cow and tries the same ploy. Each time one animal is admitted, another animal sees the incident and tries the same trick. Eventually the living room is filled with animals. When the cat hisses the another animals say their own sounds and the farmer's wife shoos them all out of the house! It's still raining and a dog comes to the door and says "woof." The cow pricks up his ears and you can tell he's thinking of trying the same trick only this time he'll say "woof."
This book is for toddlers who do not read yet, but who know about animals and the sounds they make. Because the animals in the book say "meow" instead of their own sound, most toddlers will find the story very entertaining and funny. The illustrations in the book are wonderful because they are clear despite not being too detailed. The bright colors are engaging and the close-ups of the animals really help readers recognize that the animals are thinking and choosing how to behave. There are only animal sound words on each page, no real dialogue, but this works perfectly for little children. The repetition of the animals coming to the door and trying to get inside works well for the toddlers figuring out what is going on. The overall message is that you can't fool someone forever. And the purpose of the book is to enjoy the animals and laugh at the silliness of them. The Cow Said Meow is a happy book!