Palatini, Margie. 2004. MOO WHO? Ill. by Keith Graves. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 0060001062 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK-3]
Due to a brief case of temporary amnesia, Hilda Mae Heifer, cow extraordinaire, tries to rediscover her identity. An unlucky hit in the head has resulted in her losing her soulful, sing song quality “moo,” consequently starting the fun for Hilda Mae as she quests to find herself again. With the encouragement of friendly animals, she tries to mimic all the animal sounds in the barnyard until she finds the one moo sound that feels just right.
The concept of this book is simple, but the humor and illustrations are modern and quirky and will keep the interest of older readers. MOO WHO? is written well with patterned language and structure. When Hilda Mae tries out the series of different animal sounds, each animal steps up tell Hilda Mae why she is not that particular animal. For example, when Hilda Mae tries to honk like a goose, the goose and the cow go through a question and answer session discussing why Hilda Mae is not a goose. He asks such questions as, “do you have webbed feet?, do you have two feet?, do you fly to Canada every year?” Hilda Mae always thoughtfully answers no. Children will have a blast making the animal noises along with the characters in the book. Readers will also enjoy the slightly rhythmic and sing song quality of the book, reminiscent of Hilda Mae’s moo.
Hilda Mae Heifer and friends are portrayed as colorful, cartoon characters. Create a fun barnyard of your own by having each child draw or create an exaggerated barnyard animal. Draw on paper or make paper sack puppets of each animal. Discuss what sounds each animal in the barnyard makes.
Older children will enjoy the simple story of Hilda Mae Heifer that is told in an advanced and humorous way. Let students chose a simple topic and write their own amusing stories, complete with illustrations. Include rhyming or other patterned language such as words with the “ow” sound.
Other stories about cows:
Crebbin, June. COWS IN THE KITCHEN. ISBN 0763621293
Most, Bernard. COCK-A-DOODLE-MOO. ISBN 0152012524
Speed, Toby. TWO COOL COWS. ISBN 0698115996
Wheeler, Lisa. SAILOR MOO: COW AT SEA. ISBN 0689842198
By Lisa Erickson