About the Book and Author
This is an evocative short story in the Country Tales series about children growing up in the countryside. Maxy is upset when her parents’ farm is left without animals after a health scare, but she keeps their memory alive looking after her own ‘pretend cows’. When her mum falls ill whilst pregnant and has to go to hospital Maxy has to spend a lot of time on her own. Then her father starts to keep chickens and asks Maxy to help to look after them. She finds comfort in the distraction of this new responsibility, settling the hens and encouraging them to feel secure enough to lay eggs in their new home. It is beautifully illustrated in black and white by Cathy Fisher and published by Graffeg.
My favourite bit is when Maxy is dreaming about rescuing her favourite hen Minerva, or is it just a dream?
The title is a bit misleading because the story doesn’t really revolve around cows, it is more about hens. When the hens appeared I found it very touching that Maxy finally has some real animals to look after and love. For me, this is the best part of the book and I started to really get involved with the main character. Introducing the hens is a really nice twist and it helps Maxy overcome the loss of the other farm animals and her worry about her mum being poorly and in hospital. She really cares for them, especially the one she named Minerva.
I think that the idea of a farm with ‘pretend cows’ is so sweet and could have been full of emotion, but I was disappointed that the short story did not allow much build up about the background circumstances; instead it went straight to the main point. I would have liked to get to know the farm animals and the family, before all the animals were put down, then I could have learned more about their characters and feel more connected to them and their upsetting situation. It is also quite vague about why the animals had to die, but perhaps this was described in an earlier book in the author’s Country Tales series…
Nicola Davies’ writing creates a magical and vivid scene, full of lovely similes and descriptions. Some of the scenes are very beautiful. The illustrations (done by Cathy Fisher) are so detailed and dreamlike.
This book is great and full of imagination, although I think it would be enjoyed more by younger children than myself (I am aged 11).
If you would would like to buy a copy of the book we invite you to order it from an independent book shop. If you don’t know where your closest shop is you can search here
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Alternatively, we suggest that you visit your local library and request to borrow a copy from a friendly librarian, if you cannot find the book on its shelves.
Either way, we hope you enjoy being part of your unique community – happy reading everyone!
- Name: Elsie
- Age: 11 years
- Likes: Monsters High, my pet hens and sewing clothes
- Dislikes: avocado and spiders
- Favourite Book: The Unicorn Quest by Kamilla Benko
- Favourite Film: Descendants (all 3 movies)
- Favourite Song: Shivers by Rachel Platten