Thursday, June 09, 2005

Outsmarting the Man

Two of my favorite picture books are humorous takes on what is essentially the same plot. Doreen Cronin's "Click, Clack, Moo Cows that Type" (Ill. Betsey Lewin) and Eileen Cristelow's "The Great Pig Escape" both feature animals much smarter than their farmers.

In "Click, Clack, Moo" the cows begin typing demands of the farmer--electric blankets or no milk. The chickens soon argue their case through the cows--electric blankets or no eggs. The animals win in the end even though the farmer types them hilarious notes like, "Dear Cows and Hens: There will be no electric blankets. You are cows and hens. I demand milk and eggs. Sincerely, Farmer Brown."

This particular note inspired an emergency meeting and my favorite line in the book: "All the animals gathered around the barn to snoop, but none of them could understand Moo."

Pigs also spend all night discussing their plight (an imminent sale, of course) in "The Great Pig Escape." Their farmers--a couple named Bert and Ethel--hear them, but only Ethel thinks something's amiss. The pigs escape, of course, and send a postcard to Bert and Ethel from Florida. There's only one word on the back: "OINK!"

Kids love this type of story. Nothing better than a limited parent, I mean, farmer.