Everywhere the Cow Says "Moo!"
written by Ellen Slusky Weinstein
illustrated by Kenneth Andersson

Ellen Slusky Weinstein's Everywhere the Cow Says "Moo!"
illustrated by Kenneth Andersson

Children's books review by P.J. Rooks

Ages:This book is not to be confined by geographical or demographical boundaries!

What sounds do animals make in other countries?

Foreign terms for "Daddy":

  • Dada (North America)
  • Papa, Padre, (Italy, Spain)
  • Nana (Russia)
  • Baba (Albania)
  • Tata (Romania)and,
  • (no, no -- say it isn't so!) Vader (Denmark).

Linguists say that the "da" sound is one of the earliest and easiest for babies to form. So moms, try not to get too offended when, despite your many months of "ma-ma-ma-ing," little Kissy-Toes addresses her father first.

Foreign terms for "Mommy":

  • Mama (North American)
  • Madre (Italian, Spanish)
  • Maman (French), Moeder (Afrikaans)
  • Ama (Basque)
  • Mamm (Cornish)
  • Omm (Maltese) -- there's definitely a pattern here!

Around the world, these first syllables carry so much meaning for parents. It is interesting to speculate that as we name our babies, so we've allowed them to name us.

And, as our many languages have taken shape, we've ascribed a variety of different sounds to the animals in our lives, too. But... Everywhere, The Cow Says "Moo!"

Okay, and I'll admit it, when it comes to books about barnyard animals, you can usually count on me to be the first whiner.

I'm making an exception for this one, though. Everywhere the Cow Says "Moo!" is a very, very clever twist on the standard barnyard fare.

This book uses the time-honored favorites -- frog, rooster, dog, duck, and cow -- to take us on a little tour of the world's languages and cultures.

Here's a sample:

In English, the frog says, "Ribbit ribbit!"

In Spanish, the frog says "Crew-ah crew-ah!"

In French, the frog says "Kwah, Kwah!"

In Japanese, the frog says, "Kero, Kero!"

But everywhere, the cow says "Moo!"

Bright, simple pictures, such as a rooster crowing atop England's Stonehenge or a duck floating along in front of a pagoda, highlight each country and add an element of color that will appeal to even the youngest listeners while opening many opportunities for conversation with older kids.

And much older readers (like, um, late-30s, let's say) may become inspired to dabble in linguistic speculation afterward.

This is the barnyard book for today's kids. In the interest of peace, diversity, and inter-cultural understanding in a rapidly globalizing world, Everywhere the Cow Says "Moo!" is a fun-filled necessity.

Read more of P.J.'s reviews.

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