Cows are animals that tend to come up a lot in Christmas books. That's because cattle are commonly found in stables, so there are many picture books that include a cow at the Nativity, and books involving Christmas pageants often feature them as well. In these types of books, they're in the background, but there are a few that focus on cows predominantly. Most of these tend to be pretty silly, though some take a more solemn approach. Here are a few picture books in which cows play a central role.
According to this story, animals are given the ability to speak on Christmas. What's more, each animal may be granted one very special wish. What Annabelle chooses reveals the depth of her love for Tommy and helps to create more than one Christmas miracle. This is a very sweet, old-fashioned tale of a simple childhood spent on a farm, with a conclusion that is particularly touching.
The rhyming narration in this book has a very twangy quality to it, and it's easy to imagine these cows speaking with southern drawls. In most ways, they don't particularly act like cows, especially when it comes to their food choices. No hay or grass for these bovines; they'll only accept cookies and coffee. However, they are a fair bit heavier than humans, and that comes into play in a dramatic but amusing fashion once the dancing gets underway. A silly celebration of country living and family traditions.
Millie in the Snow - Th
While the story is fun, the pictures are even better, particularly the panels that depict the mailman meticulously creating his gifts and imagining how the recipients will react to them. Also entertaining are the birds popping up throughout the book in a variety of amusing ways. Funniest of all, though, is what happens when Millie, after her arduous ordeal in getting home in the midst of a sudden blizzard, delivers gifts whose tags got all mixed up in the wind.
As strictly a Nativity book, this falls short, what with the curious setting and the lack of emphasis on the divinity of Jesus. However, Herman does make a statement about the miraculous nature of birth in general that encourages readers to have a reverence for life, and the paintings are gorgeous and show Mary and Joseph in a very compassionate light.
Looking for Santa Claus - In this Henrik Descher book, Maggie is a young girl who lives with her cantankerous aunts. Tired of their disdain for Christmas and their constant barrage of chores, Maggie accepts the invitation of Blossom the cow to go on a magical adventure. Soon they are flying together across the world, and though it's completely unclear how Maggie is able to fly, it's a fun trip.
Drescher's prose is very simple, and most pages only feature one sentence or even a portion of a sentence. The focus is more on the illustration, which have a rather folksy quality to them, especially once they begin to encounter various incarnations of Santa Claus from different parts of the world, and it's fun to see variations on Santa with different traits and names, all from the back of a flying cow.
Meanwhile, the watercolor illustrations are quite lovely, especially in their depiction of the cows, while also humorous. Little details sprinkled throughout the book include a box of Domino's Pizza, a bag of Lay's potato chips and a can of 7-Up, which makes me wonder if Lane was getting paid for product placement. The book lavishes praise on these cows to a hyperbolic extent, but there's no doubt that they would make a big impression if they showed up at your door.
It isn't rare to find cows in Christmas books, but for those who really love these creatures, a bit more of a starring role might be preferred, and that's what they will find in these books.