Eight Pound Cows
by Dr. Barbara ten Brink

"Eight pound cows would make great pets: Great, fat, furry, black, silly, docile, pets not unlike two, eight pound, white, furry, fluffy, poodles I know."

In this adorable children's fantasy tale, the author, who owns a small ranch in Texas on which she runs cattle, imagines her beloved bovines as eight-pound pets. Now able to be carried and hugged, the cows would be able to receive kindness and affection as never before possible. She takes the reader through a series of whimsical scenarios, including bathing and grooming her cows in the sink and then taking them to the professional groomers to be adorned with pretty bows. The author also imagines the fun of taking her barnyard friends for a ride in the car and even to obedience school. After this, they could provide therapy visits to retired ranchers to bring them joy. She envisions walking her pet cows with leashes and sparkling collars through downtown Austin, engaging playfully with the passersby. These beloved pets would settle into their idyllic life, just like puppies. They would follow commands, enjoy their meals indoors using rodeo-themed bowls, and even have beds in every room. Concluding with a picture of her own fluffy white doggies, she muses about what sweet pets her miniature cows would be, and how she would protect and love them.

An innocent and heartfelt story, Brink's work is certain to strike a chord in anyone who has loved and cared for an unusual pet. While it is common and easy to show affection for conventional pets, like dogs and cats, it is natural for owners of farm animals, like horses and cows, to feel the same protective adoration. Bonded by years of care and mutual support, this love can be just as strong. Brink demonstrates this through her gentle and amusing speculation about what it would be like to share this type of relationship with her barnyard pets. Children, especially those living on farms or who raise unusual animals for 4H or personal reasons, will find Brink's musings fun and relatable. Additionally, they are sure to enjoy the pretty illustrations that adorn every other page. These are filled with brightly colored images of little cows with bright shining eyes. Adults and children alike will delight in these drawings, including an especially adorable depiction of the cows riding on the author's lap as her husband takes them all on a drive. Replete with little red bows around their neck, the little cows look as happy as can be.

After the narrative, Brinks adds some creative exercises to encourage little ones to continue engaging with the story. These ideas include inviting children to write a sequel, come up with a new adventure for the eight-pound cows, illustrate activities from the tale, and draw pictures of their pets. The story concludes with a short biography of Brinks, pictured in a photograph with her two beautiful, full-sized cows, and a touching discussion of the role her grandmother played in her choice to become a farmer. As she works on her ranch, she imagines her grandmother Clemmie and aspires to keep her legacy alive through her own dedication. From cover to cover, young readers will find Brinks work to be full of heartwarming surprises and reaffirmations of the importance of love and family to a fulfilling life.

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