Thursday 12 May 2016

The Cow Tripped over the Moon

The Cow Tripped over the Moon by Tony Wilson, illustrated by Laura Wood (Scholastic Press)
HB RRP $24.99
ISBN 978-1-74392-353-4

Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

Almost every child (and adult) must know the story of the cow jumping over the moon. But I bet no-one knows how many attempts it took to get it right. The Cow Tripped Over the Moon is a very funny version of this famous rhyme, featuring all the original characters –Cow, Dog, Cat & Fiddle and of course, Dish & Spoon.

         But what they don’t say
         In the songs from that day,
         Is the cow didn’t jump it first time.
         It seems a moon clearance
         Takes great perseverance,
         So back to the scene of the rhyme...

When rhyme works well in a picture book it is a joy to read and this one is close to perfect. There are no dodgy words, or strange sentences, nothing is sacrificed for the rhyme. It has a rollicking rhythm which adds to the joy of reading this story aloud and fabulous humour in both words and pictures.

         Moon attempt 3: 10.12pm
         Hey diddle diddle
         The cat and the fiddle
         The cow jumped under the moon.
         Her run-up was slow,
         She was never a show,
         And the fiddle was way out of tune.

The wonderful illustrations glow under the moon’s light. They expand on so much of the story. The gang sit on the barn roof, gazing at the moon and concocting the whole escapade. The characters all help Cow train and the story builds to the penultimate page which echoes the text beautifully and conveys the emotion of the moment with a glorious picture of Cow, just before her last jump attempt. We see the determination on her face, her eyes filling with water, cape (towel) flowing from her shoulders, and the gang behind shouting encouragement – all with the glow of sunrise at their backs

This is an entertaining read, fun for toddlers, children and adults alike. And underlying the laughs is a strong message of perseverance, teamwork and supportive friends.

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