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Cowshed Springtime: Book review

Reviewed by's Rosa Volz

New Zealand author and artist Gavin Bishop has been writing and illustrating children's fiction and mythology since I first learned to read. Bishop is probably best recognised for Kiwi children's stories such as The Horror of Hickory Bay and the retelling of iconic New Zealand stories such as Maui and the Sun .

Cowshed Springtime falls into the category of Kiwi children's stories. It is the second in the cowshed series following Cowshed Christmas . With distinctive New Zealand illustrations, this counting book depicts baby farm animals and their proud parents ... one foal (neigh neigh), two calves (moo moo), three puppies (woof woof) and so on.

This beautifully simple story was a huge success with its target audience; in this instance my two children aged two and five. Two-year-old, Felix, enjoyed counting the animals and imitating the endless quacks, woofs and cheeps.  He loved it, but questioned the wisdom of excluding important illustrations such as a tractor, train or digger. 

Meanwhile Molly, (who is in the process of learning to read), used the pictures and repetitious text to guide her through reading the story out loud.

For me the best part of reading the story together is when we curl up at bedtime and read the final pages 'shhh ...  zzzzz ... Good night' - to which my children reply 'Good night Mummy' - and if I am very lucky, go straight to sleep.

Rating:  9/10 (1 point deducted for no tractors, trains or diggers)

Cowshed Springtime by Gavin Bishop
Random House
RRP: $24.99
Available: Now