Clancy the Courageous Cow, by Lachie Hume

Clancy the Cow stands out in the herd because he is different. He is a Belted Galloway, but unlike all the other Belted Galloways, Clancy has no belt. The other cows reject him, but one night Clancy discovers that being totally black has a hidden advantage. He is able to sneak into the paddock next door at night and eat as much as he likes. Unlike the other Belted Galloways, Clancy is soon big and strong – and able to represent the herd in the annual Cow Wrestle.

Soon, Clancy is the hero of the herd. His victory in the Wrestle means that the Belted Galloways have grazing rights over the best paddock and the neighbouring Herefords have to move out. But Clancy has anther surprise up his sleeve. He thinks all the cows should just get along – and share the paddock.

Clancy the Courageous Cow is a fun story about being different and about getting along. It was first written by the author/illustrator for a school assignment when he was just twelve and the illustrations, using watercolour and graphite pencil, have a childlike simplicity which is really endearing.

Very cute.

Clancy the Courageous Cow, written and illustrated by Lachie Hume
Omnibus, 2006

Melbourne Cup 1930, by Geoff Armstrong & Peter Thompson

The Studebaker cut the corner as it bounced too quickly into Etna Street, and hardly slowed as it drew level with Woodcock. To his horror, the strapper saw that the man in the back now had in his hands not a newspaper but a double-barrelled shotgun, aimed straight at him.

While history shows that Phar Lap won the prestigious Melbourne Cup in 1930, most Australians are unaware of the dramas that dominated the days leading up the cup. First Phar Lap was shot at as his strapper lead him home from a workout. To keep him safe, he was spirited away to Geelong, where he was kept hidden and under police guard. After violent storms and sleepless nights for his watchers, Phar Lap was finally taken back to Melbourne on cup day – only to have the truck carrying him break down several times on the way. None of these dramas, however, were able to stop Phar Lap from decimating the Cup field.

Melbourne Cup 1930 is a detailed analysis of all aspects of the 1930 Cup, with a focus, of course, on the dramas which surrounded Phar Lap. Authors Geoff Armstrong and Peter Thompson unravel the rumours, innuendos and facts about what really happened in those drama-filled days leading up to the Cup.

Not just for horse racing enthusiasts, this is a detailed look at a special part of Australia’s history. No other horse has captured Australia’s heart so completely, and this offering gives a glimpse into the reasons for that passion.

Melbourne Cup 1930: How Phar Lap Won Australia’s Greatest Race, by Geoff Armstrong & Peter Thompson
Allen & Unwin, 2005

So Gross – Over 100 Gross-worthy Facts

What is phlegm?
Why do some poos float and others sink?
How does vomit get from your stomach to your throat?

These are not the sort of questions we expect in polite conversation, but they are the sorts of questions many kids want answers to. And, because they are exactly the sort of questions which So Gross answers, the book is sure to appeal to primary aged children.

There are answers to over 100 similarly gross questions, which will keep kids entertained long after they have read them. How do I know? My nine year old recently read this one and has been telling me all sorts of ‘interesting’ facts about vomit, blood and other bodily functions ever since.

Whilst adult readers may find the book a little base, it is a good lesson in biology and is sure to get reluctant readers reading. Each question is answered in a paragraph or two of easy to understand text and is complemented by colourful cartoon style illustrations.

The questions answered in So Gross were chosen from questions submitted by young readers to DMAG magazine.

So Gross: Over 100 Gross-worthy Facts
Scholastic, 2005