'Something to Tell the Grandcows'
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[SEPT. 23, 2004]
"Something to Tell the Grandcows," by Eileen
Spinelli, illustrated by Bill Slavin, Eerdmans Publishing Co., 29 pages, ages 5
"Wanted -- A Few Good Cows," said the
poster. Emmadine the cow realized that this was her opportunity for
an adventure worthy of telling her "grandcows" for years to come.
Admiral Richard E. Byrd was looking for a few good cows to take on
an expedition to the South Pole in 1933, and Emmadine was up to the
Eileen Spinelli has written a tale of
adventure, loosely based on a historical event, told from the point
of view of Emmadine, a cow. Children always enjoy animals that act
like humans, so they will love this sweet cow who has a grand
adventure and comes home to tell her grandkids -- I mean grandcows
-- all about it.
Emmadine wanted to have more to tell
her grandcows about than just her daily routine of swatting
horseflies and chasing crows out of the corn. So Emmadine, along
with other cows and sled dogs, boarded Admiral Byrd's ship for the
long voyage to the South Pole.
After many weeks of being seasick, she
donned her warmest woolen socks and scarf for the arrival at the
South Pole, the coldest place on earth. Emmadine was amazed at what
she saw! Seals and whales were swimming, and penguins were sliding
and playing on the ice. These were new and strange-looking animals
that certainly had never been seen on her farm back home. Wait until
she told her grandcows about them!
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That first night, Emmadine was very
tired as she waited for the sun to go down -- but the sun seemed
stuck in the sky. The cowherd explained that in summer the sun never
sets at the South Pole but shines all day and all night. My,
wouldn't the grandcows be surprised to hear this!
The wind blew and icicles tinkled, but
the cows were happy in their new home. Emmadine wondered, if this
were summer at the South Pole, what would winter be like? In time,
she found out
-- even colder and icier, and dark all day and all night. The cows
had to stay in the barn all the time. They soon grew bored of this,
so Emmadine taught the other cows to dance. Even the cowherd danced
the winter away. Wouldn't the grandcows laugh to hear about this!
When spring came again, the animals
were finally on their way home. Emmadine had so much to tell the
grandcows! What a welcome she received when she returned home.
Farmer Fergus, a crowd of cheering people and a brass band were all
there. Even the president of the United States was there to present
Emmadine with a shiny gold medal. "Oh, wouldn't the grandcows be
amazed! … And of course they were."
Bill Slavin has created acrylic
paintings of Emmadine and her many adventures that will bring this
picture book to life for reader and young child alike. His
illustrations convey the icy cold of the South Pole, as well as the
warm glow of the candlelit barn during the long, dark winter.
You can read
this book and others by visiting the Youth Services Department of
the Lincoln Public Library at 725 Pekin St. or call (217) 732-5732.