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The Smallest Cow in the World


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About the Author

Katherine Paterson is one of the world's most celebrated and beloved authors. Among her many awards are two Newberys and two National Book Awards, and she was recently named a "Living Legend" by the Library of Congress. She has been published in more than 22 languages in a variety of formats, from picture books to historical novels. Jane Clark Brown has illustrated several children's books, including the I Can Read Book The Smallest Cow in the World. Ms. Brown lives in South Burlington, VT.


Marvin and his family live on a dairy farm with ``two dogs, eight cats and ninety-seven cows.'' The meanest cow is Rosie, but Marvin loves her anyway. When the owner decides to retire, Marvin's family moves to a different farm, where all except Marvin gradually adjust to their new routine. Upset by his unfamiliar surroundings, the boy pretends Rosie is at the new farm--only now she is the smallest cow in the world, and only Marvin can see her. After destroying Mom's garden and messing up his sister's room, Marvin claims Rosie is to blame because she is angry that she had to move. As the family begins to understand Marvin's feelings, they help him to become acclimated and promise that they will never leave Rosie behind again. Paterson sends a reassuring message to beginning readers: they too can endure potentially difficult and frightening changes. Brown's delicate, homey drawings lend warmth and sensitivity to a unique story. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)

PreS-Gr 2-- Paterson's first easy reader was originally published for the Vermont Migrant Education Program in 1988, but the text has been substantially reworked and the illustrations are completely new. Marvin and his family live and work on Brock's dairy farm. The boy has a favorite cow, Rosie, who is the meanest cow in the world. But Marvin loves her the best, and says she's nasty only because her calf is gone. When the farm is sold and the family must move, all of Marvin's pain centers on missing Rosie. Soon, on a new farm, he tells his parents that Rosie is with him, transformed by a witch into the smallest cow in the world, and still mean because she had to move. The family's sympathetic and imaginative response helps the boy weather this difficult period. Brown's homey pictures show busy farm life and lots of activity in bright colors. Graceful, reassuring, and sensitive, with a believable cast of characters. --Leda Schubert, Vermont Department of Education, Montpelier

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