HOW BEAUTIFUL Written by Antonella Capetti Illustrated by Melissa Castrillón (Greystone Kids; $17.95; Ages 4-8)…
Minnie and Moo, the popular bovine buddies, are back again in their second chapter book reviewed today by MaryAnne Locher.
This time the two lovable cows are having a frolicking good time on the Red Tractor Farm in Minnie & Moo: Hooves of Fire, written and illustrated by Denys Cazet (Creston Books 2014; $15.95, Ages 6-11). Well, at least Moo is having a good time. Minnie is too busy worrying.
While Mr. and Mrs. Farmer are away on a vacation. Moo comes up with the idea to have a talent festival on the farm to raise money for the Farmers. Minnie has a bad feeling about this, but doesn’t want to hurt her best friend’s feelings, so she goes along with it. But everywhere she turns, Minnie sees trouble brewing. All that Moo sees is everyone having fun! Minnie notices coyotes in black jackets who ride in on motorcycles, weasels looking, well, weasel-y, and the stage-hog, Elvis the Rooster, who can’t seem to wait his turn. Moo sees her friends’ hard work and talent coming to fruition.
When Minnie, a pastry lover of the worst sort, thinks she sees the coyotes stealing raspberry danishes, she tells her friend Moo, who replies, “You worry too much, Minnie.” That’s because Moo thinks she has everything under control since Big Vinnie and Little Vinnie, professional hog wrestlers, are there as security guards.
Soon though, even Moo gets a little concerned when she can’t find Minnie, or the cash box holding all of their money intended for the Farmers. The money box shows up as part of Fox’s magic trick; or does it? When coyotes, hyenas, weasels, and a fox all collaborate to pull off a heist, they’re too much for even Big Vinnie and Little Vinnie to handle alone. When a hyena yells, “So long, Fatso!” to Minnie, the hyena doesn’t know what’s in store for him. A motorcycle chase ensues, and well, let’s just say that Mr. and Mrs. Farmer get a fat envelope full of cash in their mailbox.
Cazet is no stranger to elementary school humor, having been a teacher himself for 25 years, a school librarian, and an elementary media specialist. His b&w illustrations of cows in togas, chickens in dresses and heels, and a stare-down between a bug-eyed snail and an Elvis-impersonating rooster, are very amusing. His words even more so. There’s drama, comedy, magic, and even a touch of romance, when Don Juan del Toro, the bull, asks Moo to dance The Hooves of Fire.
Teachers should note, there’s also a downloadable Curriculum Guide.