Sunday, July 15, 2012

George Washington's Cows by David Small

George Washington's Cows by David Small

Rating: 3.5 stars

This book really wouldn't appeal to many, but I can't help but throw it out there.  For those of us who live within a drive of Mount Vernon, it might be fun to check out this book before or during the trip...just to see if, in fact, there are cows and pigs and sheep such as Small describes.

When you and your family pull up to his estate, will your kids see cows who are "fed on a diet of jam and cream scones, / Frequently sprayed with expensive colognes" and pigs who are "Eager to serve the honored guests, / Leaping to meet each need expressed?"  You never know.  Will they see sheep who "sorted the stars with a needle / And measured the sea with a stick?"  Hmmm...

(Spoiler alert: I've been there.  They won't.)

Anyway, the amusing rhyme goes on, and your kids will probably think that the animals in the well-drawn, very realistic pictures are pretty hilarious (the sheep in old-school scientist garb, looking studiously and seriously at their measurements and calculations, are my favorite).

But in the end, only the adult will laugh.  Kids just won't get the joke.  Because George, head in hand, with tears in his eyes, says:
"My cows wear dresses, my pigs wear wigs,
And my sheep are more learned than me.
In all my days on the farm I've seen
Nothing to equal such tricks." 
Then bundling into his wool underwear,
He ferried across the cold Delaware,
And muttered in tones of deepest despair:
Sell the farm, I'll try politics!

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