It's been a long time since I have I discovered a book that personifies animals in such a charming way. Immediately drawn in by a beautiful cover and charming illustrations, I fell into this wonderful story about an ordinary character who achieves something wild and wonderful. Audrey ( Cow) unwinds like a documentary film with a soundtrack of animals and human voices. At Bittersweet Farm, Audrey is a Charolais cow. Her wise mother, who ended up on a truck to the "Abbot's War", had passed on a sense of pride and worthiness to her daughter, qualities which give Audrey the courage to plot and make a bold move that changes her life.
The plot is simple, but the meaning of life for farm animals can be thought provoking. Because our family has a farm, I often think about how the chickens, ducks and sheep really feel. Are they just ambling along, chewing grass and doing next to without a clue? Can they really build relationships with each other and with humans?
Author Dan Bar-El uses anthropomorphism to an extreme, but in this case, it works. One of his devices is giving the animals such unique personalities that you might suspend disbelief. If you allow yourself to just let go and listen when Charlton the rooster says, for example, " I would be delighted to enlighten you in regards to the heroics that I, Charlton the Third, did humbly perform on that illustrious day," or when Audrey, lost and alone muses "..oh, how I missed Mother that night. How I needed her to be close, to reassure me that everything would be okay." You'll have to get the book to find out if everything will work out.
The echo of Charlotte and Wilbur are calling, so if you never did get around to reading Charlotte's Web, this is the time to read it or to view the 2007 DVD version. Other beloved selections with animal characters is The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate DiCamillo, or a very short true story, Lenore Finds a Friend about a dog who befriends a ram.