As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

October 8, 2010

SAILOR MOO: COW AT SEA by Lisa Wheeler, 2002

Sailor Moo: Cow at Sea
Most dairy cows are content to stand and graze and chew. But not Moo. She forsakes her life of "waving wheat" for ocean waves in Lisa Wheeler and Ponder Goembel's witty and wonderful rhyming picture book Sailor Moo: Cow at Sea. Children will be immediately swept up in the story of a cow who seeks bluer pastures and hoofs it to the bay: "Yo-ho-ho / And a shiver-me-be / Whoever heard of a cow at sea?" The feline crew of a fishing boat agrees to take Moo on board if she will pay her way in fresh milk. It's a deal: "Moo loved the way the ocean sang. / 'Like moo-sic,' she would utter, / as rocking, rolling ocean waves / would churn her milk to butter." (Amazon product description/review)

Review by Amy Finnegan - writer, reader, housewife

Parents, Pre-K through 1st grade teachers, and librarians, this review is for YOU. If you don't have SAILOR MOO: COW AT SEA in your collection, the young children in your life are missing out big time.

This book was love at first sight for me. Or I should say, love at first listen. I was at a writer’s conference maybe seven or so years ago when I heard the author, Lisa Wheeler, read this book aloud. Perhaps my response to it had something to do with my fondness for cows when I was a child. In fact, my dad still says “Look, Mamy, COW!” whenever he’s with me and we happen to pass a pasture. But really, I hadn’t realized just how much I still loved cows until I heard Lisa Wheeler tell me the story of Sailor Moo.

This book is so charming and humorous that the author could have been selling a full farm that day and I would’ve been first in line for it. And the funny thing is, I’m not much of a “rhyming” picture book person; they often feel forced and cheesy to me. But this book . . . well, I’ll refer back to the Amazon product description for an example: "Moo loved the way the ocean sang. / 'Like moo-sic,' she would utter, / as rocking, rolling ocean waves / would churn her milk to butter."

And it goes on and on, clever page after clever page. I love all of Lisa Wheeler’s books because her rhymes make perfect sense and read in a linear fashion, rather than the way so many other picture books twist the sentences to force a rhyme.

I’ve read this book several times to my daughters’ classrooms, and without fail, I’ve been asked by the kids to read it again. And they’re always more than willing to say the refrain with me in pirate talk: “Yo Ho Ho, and a shiver-me-be!”

Because, you know, the pirate cows obviously need to talk like Blackbeard. And don’t forget to talk like the fishing boat captain, either: the hissing Captain Silver Claw.

This is my all-time favorite read aloud! Hope you’ll give it a try!

Market: Picture Book
Language: Is this a good place to put hysterical and lyrical?
Sensuality: Oh, there's some lovin' all right.
Violence: Captain Silver Claw has a pretty fierce hiss
Other Mature Themes: The pirate cows wear some serious bling

Book formats: 
Sailor Moo: Cow at Sea (hardcover) And worth every penny!

To learn more about the author and her books, go here: Lisa Wheeler

I know, I know, picture books are expensive. I’m selective about the ones I actually buy rather than borrow from the library. But when I know it’s a story that my kids will want me to read to them over and over and over again (and that they’ll one day want to read on their own), a great picture book is definitely worth the one-time expense.


Kim said...

SIXTEEN COWS is sooooo wonderful. I love the rollicking rhymes! It sounds like SAILOR MOO is another great Lisa Wheeler book. Thanks for a fun review!

Amy Finnegan {} said...

I have SEVERAL favorite picture books written by Lisa Wheeler. We love Sixteen Cows around here, too, and Porcupining and Wool Gathering and .... And .... And ... All of her books :)