Book: Sailor Moo Cow at Sea

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Sailor Moo Cow at Sea

Author: Lisa Wheeler, Ponder Goembel
Publisher: Atheneum Books

Moo dreams of becoming a sailor.

Little does she know, when she sets off toward the sea, that the first crew she joins will be composed of cats.

Or that she herself will be hailed by a shipload of pirate steers as their captain's dairy queen.

It’s amoozing where a dream can take a girl — a truth which Lisa Wheeler and Ponder Goembel relish here in rollicking words and witty, windblown pictures.


Most dairy cows are content to stand and graze and chew. But not Moo. She forsakes her life of “waving wheat” for ocean waves in Lisa Wheeler and Ponder Goembel’s witty and wonderful rhyming picture book Sailor Moo: Cow at Sea. Children will be immediately swept up in the story of a cow who seeks bluer pastures and hoofs it to the bay: “Yo-ho-ho / And a shiver-me-be / Whoever heard of a cow at sea?” The feline crew of a fishing boat agrees to take Moo on board if she will pay her way in fresh milk. It’s a deal: “Moo loved the way the ocean sang. / ‘Like moo-sic,’ she would utter, / as rocking, rolling ocean waves / would churn her milk to butter.” Once aboard, she befriends her sea cousins, the manatees, which turns out to be fortuitous—when she’s thrown overboard in a “sudden, savage gale,” they come to her rescue. But, what’s this? The goggle-sporting sea cows take her to a crusty cattle barge of pirates led by Red Angus! Moo is dismayed: “Moo’s heart was pure, so she was sure / it must be a mistake. / Looting steers? Cow buccaneers? / She felt her stomachs ache….” But when Red Angus gazes into Moo’s eyes, his heart warms and his rough edges smooth: “In Moo he’d seen his dairy queen / and now he must reform.” Adventure, romance, and darn-good storytelling combine with perfect meter, delightful puns (milk it, Lisa!), and fantastically lively, artful, and expressive illustrations to make this one of our favorite picture books of the year. Highly recommended. (Ages 3 to 7) —Karin Snelson

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