Thursday, February 28, 2013

Story Element #10: Beginnings/Endings (Find a Cow NOW!)

Today is the LAST day of my Book Love event where I posted a new Story Element review every day for the last two weeks. One book each day from February 14 to February 28. Two weeks plus one day. Up for grabs is a Market Guide book. I'll give you until midnight March 2, Dr. Seuss's birthday, to leave a comment. The covers of the Market Guides can be seen below on the Feb. 26 post. Be sure to leave your e-mail address when you comment. 

Today's book is...
Find a Cow NOW!

Author: Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel
Illustrator: Janet Stevens
Publisher: Holiday House
Year: 2012
Word Count: not sure, probably 1,000+
Focus: Beginnings/Endings AND Word Play

Summary: "Tired of hearing dog yipping at chairs and trying to round up rugs, Bird tells him to go to the country to find a cow, but this is one cattle dog who does not know a cow when he sees one."

Jacket Flap: "Dog needs to move. Yip! Yip! He needs to chase. Ruff! Ruff! he needs to round up. According to Bird, Dog needs to get to the country and find a cow, now! A city dog goes on an unforgettable adventure in this sweet and humorous picture book by an award-winning team."

Spread 1:
Nap. Nap. Nap. Dog was tired of naps.
And here's the word play part. Throughout the entire book.
Yip! Yip! Ruff! Ruff! Yee-haw! Ruff! Ruff! Yip! Yip! Yee-haw! CLUCK CLUCK! PECK PECK! Ruff! Ruff! Yip! Yip! Yee-haw! OINK OINK! SNORT! SNORT! Ruff! Ruff! Yip! Yip! Yee-haw! HEE-HAW! HEE-HAW! KA-BOOM "Call the POLICE!!!" "Help!" EEE-EEE-KKK!! BEEP! BEEP! HONK! HONK! "Get out the way!" MOO-OO-OO-OO-OO-OO "Wait! Slow down!" "Go right!" "Go left!" Ruff! Ruff! Yip! Yip! Yee-haw! MOO-OO-OO-OO-OO-OO 
Final 1/2 Spread:
"Stop it, silly bird. I'm tired. I need a nap."
Full circle. And full of fun! Kids love it! Especially younger children. I love how the pattern is that it begins and ends with a nap. Hey, this is also a good example of Story Element #8: Patterns.

Is there a type of circular pattern you could apply to one of your stories that could aid in the beginning and ending. Especially if you're struggling with a beginning or ending. Think of a word that could bring extra meaning, another layer, a splash of humor, something to your ms. Quick! Grab a piece of paper and a pencil and jot down the first 20 words that come to mind that relate to your story. Now choose one or two or three  of those and play with them. Good luck.

Have you ever milked a cow? Did you grow up on a farm, or was it an out-of-farm experience (i.e. a special field trip to a farm, quite possibly for the sole experience of milking a cow)?

I did not grow up on a farm, though my grandparents did. I have never milked a cow, though I did feed bottles to my cousin's baby cows. Keep on keepin' on...


  1. This looks like my kind of book - dogs and lots of yapping!! We have cows in the family kind of far away. I've seen them and I don't want to get close enough to milk one!

  2. I love the onomawhatsit and the circular bit. I've really rnjoyed these posts. I'll make sire I get round them all soon. I have markrt guides at the library and I'm sure I'm the only one who reads them.

  3. I have a feeling my boys would be making barnyard noises at top volume for hours after reading this book. Looks like a lot of fun! And please enter me for the Market Guide, too: anpstevens [at] gmail.

  4. What a great book! When I was seven we lived on Oahu and took a field trip to the Borden's dairy. We got to meet the real Elsie the Cow, she of the picture on every box of milk I drank at school. I was stunned to learn she was a real (and huge) cow! And I was amazed to see how they hooked the cows up to milking machines. I was assured it didn't hurt them. Perhaps March will begin with a lucky day for me! gpatmiller [at]gmail.

    1. I didn't think Hawaii even HAD cows! Yeah, those milking machines sure look strange.

  5. Thanks for this wonderful series of reviews and attention to story elements, Christie...there is so much going on, I missed most of them...thank goodness for archived posts.:)
    I'd love to be entered for a copy of the Market Guide.

    1. I'm glad you like it. Yes, thank goodness for archives!

  6. is my email:
    Sorry I forgot that.:)

  7. I just found these posts through the 12 x 12 facebook page. What a nice resource for editing our own work and enjoying the works of others. I'm so glad to find a 4-leaf clover in March. Thanks for a great blog.

  8. Oh, yeah -- I never milked a cow and grew up in the city. When my daughter was 6, we went to a relative's farm and were enchanted by a calf and it's mother. We got too close and the mother butted my daughter and she went flying across the field. She was unhurt but we all felt like city slickers and had a more profound respect for moms protecting their babes.

    1. Welcome, Joy! I hope your daughter doesn't have a fear of cows, now.

  9. And the winner just in! Chosen by

    ...1st place prize (2012 Book Markets for Children's Writers) to...CATHERINE JOHNSON!!!

    ...2nd place prize (2011 Book Markets for Children's Writers) to...ROSI HOLLINBECK!!!


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