Saturday, June 20, 2009

Review: Where's My Cow?

Where's My Cow? (Hardcover), by Terry Pratchett. As the back cover explains, "This is a book about reading a book, which turns into a different book. But it all ends happily!" Terry Pratchett fans will probably delight in owning this story, which is a companion to the Discworld novel, "Thud!" (which I haven't read). My husband and I are about to read a Pratchett book for a book club (that we attend with our son), so we thought it would be fitting to get a Pratchett book for him as well. The storyline is about Commander Sam Vines who, as the excerpt below explains, reads the book "Where's My Cow" to his son every night. The text of "Where's My Cow" appears in the book, so readers can read a story within a story. Commander Vines gets bored with the typically benign story, and begins to embellish. Near the end of the book, Sam is "caught" by his wife, and has to backtrack and pretend to be sticking to the text, a scene which might amuse older kids. Honestly, I don't really "get" some of the text, not having read any Pratchett before. I hinted that my husband should guest write this review, but he didn't seem too eager. Paragraphs like these: "It went: Where's my daddy? Is that my daddy? It goes, 'Bugrit! Millenium Hand and Shrimp!' It is Four Ole Ron! That's not my daddy! Young Sam laughed." kind of flew over my head. (At least some of the language is explained in Wikipedia's page about Where's My Cow). I love the focus on father-son reading, though -- just look at that excerpt, the first line of the book...who wouldn't love that?, and the book within a book is clever. I can see that this would appeal to the hardcore Pratchett fan, and especially a soon-to-be-parent who loves Pratchett's adult works.


"Every day, Commander Sam Vines of the City Watch would be home at six o'clock sharp to read to Young Sam, who was one year old. Six o'clock, no matter what ... or who ... or why ... because some things are important."

Bookworm's interest at 19 months: Much to my amazement, he sits in rapt attention as his Daddy reads this to him. Maybe it's the different voices Dad uses. Maybe it's the lifelike, slightly creepy (very well done, just quite adult-like for a children's book) illustrations. He doesn't seek the book out and beg for it to be read, but he does seem to enjoy it every time. (The recommended age group is age 4-8, so we're obviously a bit early on this one).

Parent's Peeve: Not being familiar with Terry Pratchett's books, I questioned the appropriateness of naming a children's book character "Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler," but I suspect by age 8, we'll have read worse.

As part of last week's Weekly Geeks activity, readers submitted questions for me to answer in my reviews. Two people asked about this.

Rikki said: I'd love to see your review of Where's my cow? We've got it and love it.
And pussreboots asked: Did you get the Pratchett book for yourself or for kids?

Hopefully I already answered those questions up above: a bit of both, really.  More for our amusement and general interest, but we were happy to read it to him also.

1 comment:

Little Nut Tree said...

Hi - we own this too and our littl'un wasn't bothered. I enjoyed it though!
The characters are all from the adult Discworld books hence the names. You may be relieved to hear that Dibbler is a salesman who announces a bargain with the words "2 dollars to you sir and that's cutting me own throat."