The title says it all! Dad decides it’s time to get a new rotary cowshed, the first one in the district, but he needs to get rid of the old one first. He knows exactly how he’ll do it, but it won’t be a method that will please the neighbours.
The title is great; readers know exactly what to expect and where it is set. The front cover features a brightly coloured explosion and the inside cover pages, back and front, are illustrated with dairy cows of different colours. This presentation is very inviting to children from a country area.
Each double page features one whole page of illustration and one page with a few lines of rhyming text. This is a very simple format whereby the illustrations perfectly complement and add to the writing.
As well as being humorous, the story is informative as the end pages have a short history of rotary cowsheds and a glossary of terms. Again, really interesting to rural children.
We also hear how an “expert” covers the dynamite with bags of water to, “push the BANG down and not up”. This method of demolition would certainly not comply with today’s OSH requirements, and many environmentalists would be horrified by this book, but the events in this story did take place over 40 years ago in a time of different values.
I really enjoyed reading this book and definitely recommend it to parents/teachers/librarians as a read-aloud book to children from 3-10 years.
Title: The Day Dad Blew Up the Cowshed
Author: Jennifer Somervell
Illustrator: Margery Fern
Publisher: Tales from the Farm Publications
Date of Publication: 2015
Ages: 3-10 years
Reviewer: Annabel McPhee
School: The Catlins Area School, Owaka