Brave Nadine: I Am Cow, Hear Me Moo! by Jill Esbaum
NADINE WAS A TRULY REMARKABLE COW.
THERE WAS NOTHING SHE FEARED. . .
SO SHE CLAIMED, ANYHOW.
Nadine's fellow heifers are dubious. They cite supposedly scary things like lightning and loud noises.
I'M NOT SCARED OF ANY OF THAT!" she sniffs.
Her sister bovines call her bluff. How about the deep, dark woods, huh? they taunt.
Secretly, Nadine knows that the woods are pretty scary, but now that she has boasted that she's the bravest of bovines, she has to follow through. She offers to lead her buddies in a woodland walk.
At first all goes swimmingly. Starla and Annette give Nadine a nudge up a tree, and she moos contentedly from the treetop.
"I AM COW. HEAR ME MOO!"
Her walk on the wild side is turning out to be a success. Starla and Annette are clearly impressed. The three sample blackberries and sniff fragrant pine cones like veteran woodsmen. But then, Starla notices that it's getting darker in the woods and points out that they soon won't be able to see how to find their way home. Nadine is swinging from a branch and reluctant to end her bravado tour. But then she spots the opening of a dark cave. What a way to show off how brave she really is!
Have you ever noticed that storybook characters ALWAYS go into the dark cave?
So of course, Nadine does. Like a tourist, she leisurely checks out the cave drawings and the sleeping bats, until she spies something that makes even her udder shudder--a pile of bones and a cow skull.
Does the fearless Nadine panic? Yes!
She dashes right out of the cave, looking back for pursuing bears, and runs right off a cliff.
Down she dives, luckily landing in an icy stream, on the banks of which she finds her bovine buddies milling around, lost and leaderless. "If you desire a virtue, assume it and it shall be yours," said Benjamin Franklin, and Nadine follows his advice. Moo-hoo-hoooo! Let's hoof it, heifers!
And when Nadine leads her little herd back home at a full gallop, Starla and Annette hail her as a hero.
Nadine knows better. She knows she should stop basking in the praise and tell them the truth.
"BUT SHE SORTA FORGOT."
Jill Esbaum's latest, I Am Cow, Hear Me Moo! (Dial Books, 2014), is the story of a bloviating bovine who has to save face and make good on her boasts whether she wants to or not. Artist Gus Gordon's comic illustrations of Esbaum's not-so-courageous cow who finds her inner heroine after all are full of deliciously humorous details that make this one udderly delightful as a self-read or group readaloud.