We’re under a cow,
We’re under a cow,
We’re under her here
We’re under her now!
When a sudden storm hits, the animals of the farm are taken by surprise. Far from shelter, they are not sure what to do – but Madge the Cow is very calm, and very brave and she offers shelter – first to Lally the rabbit, then to Robinson the dog, Cackalina the chicken and her excited chicks and, finally, to Spike the echidna. As lightning flashes and thunder booms, Madge not only provides a hiding place for the smaller animals, she also encourages them to sing, to dsitract them from the storm.
Underneath a Cow is a quietly humorous story about friendship, safety and bravery. Madge is a gorgeous yellow cow who smiles her way through the terrible storm, seemingly happy to be a point of refuge for her diverse range of guests (though she does request that Spike be careful of her ‘dangly bits’). The other animals appreciate her care, and are grateful and even form unlikely friendships through their experience.
Young readers will love the silliness of the story and its warm demonstration of friendship, and the humour of the illustrations, rendered in mixed media inluding watercolour, pencil and digital collage.
Lots of fun.
Underneath a Cow, by Carol Ann Martin and Ben wood
Omnibus Books, 2015
Alberta is the oldest of three children in a family struggling for survival in the early days of white settlement in Australia. Father seems to be a bit of a dud in the providing-for-his-family department and Mother is the one who picks up the pieces. Alberta’s role is looking after her two younger siblings. On the day they decide to skip school…
We shouldn’t have wagged school, I know.
Not when our lessons were costing Mother threepence a week. But the whingeing started the minute the door of our slab hut fell off behind us. (Father was not very good at building huts.)
‘I don’t like it! I’m not going!’ That was Maudie. She had started school only four days ago. Already she’d decided that it wasn’t for her.
Tully was just plain cranky. He was missing Father, who had probably got himself lost again. Getting lost was something Father was good at.
Alberta is the oldest of three children in a family struggling for survival in the early days of white settlement in Australia. Father seems to be a bit of a dud in the providing-for-his-family department and Mother is the one who picks up the pieces. Alberta’s role is looking after her two younger siblings. On the day they decide to skip school they witness a failed coach raid by the famous Captain Blunderbolt. The occupants of the coach are initially frightened, but on witnessing Blunderbolt’s incompetence are moved sufficiently to offer donations. Meanwhile, the school bully is up to his usual tricks. Now he’s spreading a rumour that Alberta’s Father isn’t off trying to find gold, but is actually Blunderbolt. Each page includes colour illustrations often with headers and footers to break up the text.
The Mates series from Omnibus delivers short chapter books for newly independent readers. Each includes an iconic Australian story. All include a delightful dose of Aussie humour. Captain Blunderbolt introduces a new generation to our colonial history in a light-handed and informative manner. History can be dry and dull, but in the Mates format, it is anything but. Each offering opens the way for discussion about life in Australia, with all its joys and challenges. In Captain Blunderbolt the reader discovers that life was tough for settler families, with fathers needing to go away from home to find work. It also opens the discussion about the rich and the not-so-rich, and the inherent inequalities that can come with it. A particularly welcome aspect is the reference to Mother’s practical capabilities. As with all the offerings in the Mates series, readers will come for the humour, stay for the story and come away with more understanding of the rich Australian culture we all share. Recommended for newly emergent readers.
Captain Blunderbolt , Carol Ann Martin & Loren Morris
Omnibus Books 2011
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
This book can be purchased in good bookstores or online from Fishpond.
Mrs Besome is organising a Grand Pet Parade and all the kids are going to bring their pets. Even Dulcie – which is strange, because Dulcie doesn’t have a pet. But somehow, Dulcie finds herself putting her hand up in class and telling everyone that she will be bringing Muriel.
Now, all Ducie needs to do is to find a Muriel before the big show. As luck has it, Dulcie and Dud do find a Muriel. ALl they have to do is find a place to put her (if she really is a her) until the big show. Can they keep the really secret secret, and will Muriel win the pet show?
Dulcie and Dud and the Really Secret secret is the fourth Dulcie and Dud book from author Carol Ann Martin and illustrator Janine Dawson. The combination of fun plot, endearing characters and clever line drawings makes for an entertaining book, accessible to readers aged 6 to 8, making their transition from picture book texts to early novels.
A fun story.
Dulcie and Dud and the Really Secret Secret, by Carol Ann Martin, illustrated by Janine Dawson
Omnibus Books, 2003.
Portia Pratt has started a club and has asked all the poeple she likes to join. Dulcie and Dud haven’t been invited, but they don’t care. They’re going to start a club of their own and aks their friends to join.
Dulcie’s new club is called the Invisibles, becuse they like to do things invisibly. Things like surprising their teacher with flowers, or cleaning Mister Barker’s chalkboard. But the invisibles need to do a really big good deed if they want to do better than Portia’s club.
Then the children hear about Mister Braithwaite’s problem. Mrs Rossi is trying to get him to sell his home and move out – but all he wants is to stay in his house. The only thing it needs, he says, is a coat of paint. Enter the invisibles, with a great plan for helping Mister Braithwaite out.
Dulcie and Dud and the Really Cool Club is the third book about these loveable characters. This self-contained episode is both humorous and easy to read, making it an ideal first novel for 6 to 8 year old readers.
Author Carol Ann Martin has written numerous Cocky’s Circle books,as well as another children’s novel Waiting for Jason (1995). She is well supported in Dulcie and Dud by the comic line-drawings of illustrator Janine Dawson.
Lots of fun!
Dulcie and Dud and the Really Cool Club, by Carol Ann Martin, illustrated by Janine Dawson
Omnibus Books, 2003