Thursday, March 6, 2014
Review: The Cow-Pie Chronicles by James Butler, Illustrated by Lonnie Millsap
Ten-year-old Tim Slinger and his nine-year-old sister Dana face danger, excitement, and heartbreak in this story of life on a modern family farm. Though Tim (aka Poop Slinger) and "Devil" Dana engage in intense sibling rivalry that gets them both into hilarious situations with barns, ropes, farm animals, city-kid cousins, and each other, they are soon forced to confront unwanted changes when the farm is lost. As they face an alien world in town, Dana readily adapts to a new way of life while Tim resists, sending the siblings down separate but intersecting paths. Although an unexpected encounter puts Tim back into familiar surroundings, will life ever be the same? This fresh and humorous account of modern rural living brings a unique approach to the time-tested theme of families and communities coming together under challenging circumstances.
As a country girl myself (although not farm girl), I can understand the sentiments of living on the farm. The author writes a fun, although in this case fictional, account of being a young kid and growing up on a farm.
The siblings hate farm chores and try to get out of it as much as possible but in the same sense love the thing that can be done on the farm, such as slinging cow chips. This of course seems fun to them until they get in trouble because they have their city cousins doing that too. If you have any idea what a cow chip is, then you know why they got in trouble.
They also have other fun ideas like jumping off a rope tied to the barn rafters and messing with the cows! Oh and of course, you just might end up with stitches just as Tim did. There are some really funny scenes written like when Tim's Dad almost blows us their house!
It is all okay until it isn't there any more for Tim and Dana, the only thing they have is the nostalgia of it. I really liked that the author had Tim go back to the farm years later with his own "child" and share what it was like for him.
Overall, not a bad book and I liked it. The one thing I was not impressed with was the illustrations. I thought they were cheesy at best and really did not add to the book at all.
I found the things the characters got into quite funny, some even quite surprising, and felt the sentiments the author had for farm life.
The author included a glossary in the back of the book which I felt was a two-fold good thing:
Kids who grew up in the city would understand country-grown kids things and some harder words were defined.
I recommend this book for elementary to middle-grade kids, about ages 8-12 years of age.
My rating is 3 stars.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for my open and honest opinion. The views expressed here are 100% my own and may differ from yours.
Where to find the author: