Cronin, Doreen. Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type. Ill. By Betsy Lewin. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000. ISBN: 1416903488
Farmer Brown’s cows put their typing skills to work protesting the cold temperature of the barn at night. They want electric blankets. When Farmer Brown refuses, the cows and eventually the hens, go on strike. Duck, as a “neutral” party, negotiates a deal: the typewriter for the blankets. However, Duck does not deliver the typewriter and he can type!
Click, Clack, Moo is full of humor with literate cows, cold hens, a duck negotiator, and a flustered Farmer Brown as characters. The plot of the story is easy to follow with typewritten notes expressing problems and solutions and Farmer Brown’s expressions, “No eggs!” “Click, clack, moo. Click, clack moo. Clickety, clack, moo” is a repetitive line that children can expect and chime in each time.
The beautiful watercolor illustrations are so expressive. The cows look deliberate and focused; the hens look angry and even the eavesdropping barn animals have watchful expressions. I love the one of just the shadow on the barn of a leaping Farmer brown with his hair and arms raised! It completely illustrates his mood and feeling. Lewin does a fabulous job of creating time and place with her color choice. There is bright yellow for morning, white or blue for later in the day, shades of pastels as it gets close to dusk and deep purple and black for night. Red is used for scenes at the barn and Farmer Brown’s house is “wall papered”.
I love the witty stories and smart farm characters of this and other books collaborated by Cronin and Lewin.
BOKLIST: “Lewin’s wild line-and-watercolor cartoons are perfectly suited to this barnyard farce about animals that go on strike to demand better working conditions.”
PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY: “Kids and underdogs everywhere will cheer for the clever critters that calmly and politely stand up for their rights, while their human caretaker becomes more and more unglued.”
*For primary students
Discuss parts of the book that could be real and make-believe. Explanation of a typewriter may be necessary as some children make call it make-believe. Use sentence strips for children to correct capitalization and punctuation and then sequence.
*For intermediate students
Explore other inventions that are not used widely today. What has replaced them? Which works better? Why?
Write your own letter about something you think is unfair.
*Also illustrated by Betsy Lewin,
Cronin, Doreen. Duck for President. ISBN: 0439671442