The best cow books

1 authors have picked their favorite books about cows and why they recommend each book.

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Meow Said the Cow

By Sarah Mazor,

Book cover of Meow Said the Cow: Help Kids Go to Sleep With a Smile

This book has adorable illustrations and wonderful, amusing rhymes that children and families will want to read again and again. It’s sure to bring smiles to everyone. Not only is it fun, but also educational. At the end of the book, there are engaging riddles with answers listed under them, so children and their families can see how well they remember the information presented in the book. It’s a must-have bedtime story for the little ones, in my opinion.

I adore this story. It first presents silly pictures, like a cow laying eggs, followed by an illustration of a hen and information on the hen and what she does. It’s so funny as well as educational. In addition to the story, there are endearing riddles at the end I feel the book will appeal to toddlers and preschoolers and they will learn a great deal by reading this funny, fact-filled…


Who am I?

My parents encouraged me to become a children’s author when I was very young. At first, I thought that was the silliest idea ever, but I found creating stories to be fun and inspiring. I’ve been an award-winning published author since 2009, when I had an intuition to try writing stories for children. I love being a role model for children; someone who can show them that they can achieve much more than they imagine if they persevere. My personal story, My Life at Sweetbrier; A Life Changed by Horses, is a testament that remarkable things can be accomplished through perseverance. I’m honored my work has earned many literary awards. 


I wrote...

My Life at Sweetbrier: A Life Changed by Horses

By Deanie Humphrys-Dunne,

Book cover of My Life at Sweetbrier: A Life Changed by Horses

What is my book about?

What if you grew up on a horse farm and your single passion was to become a champion rider? This problem is, you were born with a disability. This happened to Deanie. Doctors told her parents she’d never walk, let alone ride. What happened next? What did Deanie’s dad do that changed her life? Could a failed racehorse and a handicapped girl become a winning team? This is the author’s true story. If you love horses and are someone who has been counted out becoming a winner in every way, you will love this book.

Is Everyone Ready for Fun?

By Jan Thomas,

Book cover of Is Everyone Ready for Fun?

I love Jan Thomas’s books! This one starts with three charming cows who are excited to see a red sofa. “Look!” they say. “It’s chicken’s sofa!”

Why are they excited? One page-turn later and PLOP! The cows are all squished together, sitting on the sofa. “Is everyone ready for fun?” they ask. 

Turns out, the cows have lots of plans for this sofa. Jumping! Dancing! Wiggling! Poor chicken tries to get them to stop, but these fun-loving cows don’t notice the effect of their “fun” on chicken’s sofa. 

I love having the kids act out each scene of jumping, dancing, wiggling, and the final satisfying page. Books that get kids engaged, whether with a catchy refrain or physical actions are fun. (And like those cows, we are ready for fun!)


Who am I?

I’ve been a preschool teacher for several years, and now I’m a preschool librarian. When I was teaching, storytime was my favorite part of the day, so when I was offered the spot of librarian, I happily took it! I have storytimes in all the classes, which range in age from 1-year-olds up to PreK and kindergarten classes. My favorite moments are when the children are connecting to each other in some way, like sharing a laugh together. Such joy! Ultimately, the best books for preschool storytimes are the ones that a reader is excited to share, with the hope that the kids will love them, too. 


I wrote...

Cowhide-And-Seek

By Sheri Dillard, Jess Pauwels (illustrator),

Book cover of Cowhide-And-Seek

What is my book about?

When Bessie hears the farmer counting his cows, she thinks he’s starting a game of hide-and-seek. She hurries off to hide, determined to be the winner — but she’s the only one playing!

When her “hiding spot” walks away, she follows it . . . right off the farm! Ready or not, here comes the farmer! Will Bessie find the perfect place to hide?

Just Like My Dad

By Tricia Gardella, Margot Apple (illustrator),

Book cover of Just Like My Dad

This is a sweet generational story about a boy who wants to be just like his cowboy dad. He accompanies his father at the cattle ranch and helps him all day with the horses and cows, and mending fences, until they both return home, “feeling tired and good.” But the best part of the boy’s day is when his dad tucks him in with the assurance that he’ll be a great cowhand, just like his father’s dad. It could be a good conversational starter about modeling for your kids, and asking your children How are you just like your dad?


Who am I?

My father died in 2020 during the pandemic so Father’s Day has taken on a new importance to me as far as reminding people to spend time with the people they love before they are gone. I had started to write a story about my dad and his childhood days before he went to the hospital, and with the help of his friend, was able to complete it for the family to have as a keepsake. I encourage kids to ask questions of their parents and for parents to write down or audio record the stories that they want to pass down. Children’s books and journals are a great way to start the conversation.


I wrote...

The Night Before Father's Day

By Natasha Wing, Amy Wummer (illustrator),

Book cover of The Night Before Father's Day

What is my book about?

It's the night before Father's Day, and Mom and the kids have a plan to surprise Dad with a special gift. When Dad goes for a bike ride, everyone gets to work. Dad wakes up the next day to find his garage newly organized and his car sparkly clean. So, of course, he celebrates by taking everyone for a spin!

Click, Clack, Moo

By Doreen Cronin, Betsy Lewin (illustrator),

Book cover of Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type

Yay for cow books! Cows can be so charming, and these cows are extra-special—they’ve learned how to type! And they use their new skill to make one polite request. They would like electric blankets. Sincerely, they would. 

I’ve mentioned how much I enjoy humor and a satisfying page-turn. This book showcases another feature that works well for storytimes—a fun refrain. 

Click, clack, moo.

Click, clack, moo.

Clickety, clack, moo.

I have kids say it with me. “Click, clack, mooo!” we say as we watch poor Farmer Brown react to each note. The ending is funny and satisfying and leaves us with a slight twist on this repeated refrain. Sometimes, I’ll hear the kids saying it throughout the day as I walk from class to class. “Click, clack, mooooo!”


Who am I?

I’ve been a preschool teacher for several years, and now I’m a preschool librarian. When I was teaching, storytime was my favorite part of the day, so when I was offered the spot of librarian, I happily took it! I have storytimes in all the classes, which range in age from 1-year-olds up to PreK and kindergarten classes. My favorite moments are when the children are connecting to each other in some way, like sharing a laugh together. Such joy! Ultimately, the best books for preschool storytimes are the ones that a reader is excited to share, with the hope that the kids will love them, too. 


I wrote...

Cowhide-And-Seek

By Sheri Dillard, Jess Pauwels (illustrator),

Book cover of Cowhide-And-Seek

What is my book about?

When Bessie hears the farmer counting his cows, she thinks he’s starting a game of hide-and-seek. She hurries off to hide, determined to be the winner — but she’s the only one playing!

When her “hiding spot” walks away, she follows it . . . right off the farm! Ready or not, here comes the farmer! Will Bessie find the perfect place to hide?

Minnie and Moo

By Denys Cazet,

Book cover of Minnie and Moo: The Case of the Missing Jelly Donut

Minnie and Moo are two cows who go on more adventures than any cows in history. Again, the humor works on multiple levels. Adults will laugh out loud over the cows’ realization that they are made of beef while kids will delight in their ridiculous adventures around the farmyard. Or on the moon. Or in Paris. Or even the hot tub. There are several books in the series and each one is absolutely delightful.


Who am I?

I’m a full-time author and illustrator, and a recovering second grade teacher. I visit with tens of thousands of kids at schools every year and love sharing funny books with them. I’ve written and illustrated over 30 published books and know that kids appreciate subtle humor as well as in-your-face hilarity. I love writing stories that will make readers laugh and think. But mostly laugh.


I wrote...

Almost Everybody Farts

By Marty Kelley,

Book cover of Almost Everybody Farts

What is my book about?

Grandmas fart. Teachers fart. Terrifying creatures fart. But... is there someone who doesn't fart?

With sly humor, this fun picture book looks at a subject that’s sure to make children laugh: farting. With silent farts, farts like horns, and rainbow farts from unicorns, Almost Everybody Farts comically captures the gassy scene. And only one person insists she’s fart-free: Mom! But is she? Kids will insist on reading this rhyming story again and again.

Cowed

By Denis Hayes, Gail Boyer Hayes,

Book cover of Cowed: The Hidden Impact of 93 Million Cows on America’s Health, Economy, Politics, Culture, and Environment

When it comes to discussions about meat, wouldn’t you like something balanced rather than strident? Denis and Gail Hayes offer a well-researched and well-written look at the role of cows in our history and diets. The book’s appeal is that it is both too radical for most cowboys (except the couple hundred ranchers actually doing it right) and too honest about the important role animal protein played in human evolution for the vegans. Cowed also delivers an array of quotable facts, such as “Eating a pound of beef has a greater climate impact than burning a gallon of gasoline.” 


Who am I?

Innovators long have fascinated me. I helped launch a clean-energy startup and advance legislation promoting environmental entrepreneurs. I’ve written biographies of Nikola Tesla (who gave us electric motors, radio, and remote controls) Jacques Cousteau (inventor of the Aqua Lung and master of undersea filming) and George Fabyan (pioneer of modern cryptography and acoustics), as well as a history of electricity (From Edison to Enron). I love reading (and writing) about ingenious and industrious individuals striving to achieve their dreams. 


I wrote...

Tech to Table: 25 Innovators Reimagining Food

By Richard Munson,

Book cover of Tech to Table: 25 Innovators Reimagining Food

What is my book about?

Imagine eating a burger grown in a laboratory, a strawberry picked by a robot or a pastry created with a 3D printer. You would never taste the difference, but these technologies might just save your health and the planet’s. Today, landmark advances in sensors, computing, and engineering are driving solutions to the biggest problems created by industrialized food. Reinvention is desperately needed. Pollution, climate change, animal cruelty, hunger, and obesity have festered under Big Ag, and despite decades of effort, organic farming accounts for less than 1 percent of U.S. croplands.

My book offers profiles of 25 food and farm innovations, including supplements that lower the methane in cattle belches, drones that monitor irrigation levels in crops, urban warehouses that grow produce year-round without poisonous herbicides, and more. 

Texas Women on the Cattle Trails

By Sara R. Massey,

Book cover of Texas Women on the Cattle Trails

Cattle drives although a relatively brief episode in history largely contribute to tales of the cowboy that helped writers and Hollywood to later make him an American icon. Texas Women on the Cattle Trails provides a history of sixteen of the women who contributed to and participated in cattle drives originating from Texas. This edited collection offers individual stories of these women and based on their own accounts which give us an inside glimpse into how this era shaped their lives. Meet real cattlewomen who built ranching empires, who showed courage and spunk, and enjoyed a closeness with nature while viewing buffalo and gazing at the stars along their journeys.


Who am I?

I grew up around ranch and rodeo life, having always been fascinated by it, attended several rodeos each year. Watching Jonnie Jonckowski ride bulls and Martha Josey break records wining barrel races—they were an inspiration. When an opportunity arose for me to build a career around researching and writing about cowgirls, rodeo, and cattlewomen, it was a dream come true.  Hope you enjoy the books about them that I’ve recommended.


I wrote...

Oklahoma Rodeo Women

By Tracey Hanshew,

Book cover of Oklahoma Rodeo Women

What is my book about?

Oklahoma’s central location and ranching tradition gave it a unique connection to the rodeo industry as it grew from a local pastime to an internationally popular sport. From the very beginning, Oklahoma cowgirls played a significant role in developing the institution and the businesses that grew up in its shadow.

Lucille Mulhall’s pioneering roping carved out a place for women in the actual competition, while Mildred Chrisman’s promotional efforts kept rodeo chutes open during the Great Depression. Modern ranchers like Terry Stuart produced the Quarter Horses sought by professional rodeo athletes around the world. From Guymon to Pawhuska and from stock contractors to rodeo clowns, Oklahoma Rodeo Women follows the trail these women blazed across this rough-and-tumble sport.

Let's Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy

By Jan Thomas,

Book cover of Let's Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy

How can you not love a book with this title? Jan Thomas happens to be one of my favorite picture book creators, and this book clearly shows why. Her books are all surprising, quirky, and slightly absurd, three things I strive for in my own work. I love the idea of a cowboy who sings lullabies to his cows every night. And while this cowboy starts off fine, he is constantly distracted by scary things he sees in the dark, like a spider (that turns out to be a flower) and a snake that is actually just a stick. Kids love it when adults act silly, and this hysterical cowboy will have them howling with laughter. If you like Sandra Boyton, check out Jan Thomas’s work.


Who am I?

I love this letter that I received from a child reader: Ahoy Ms. Crimi! Your book Henry and the Crazed Chicken Pirates made me think of myself because the character Henry is really shy and cowardly, kind of like me sometimes. But I put all that aside and come around in the most sincere moments. Like this young reader, I, too, have my cowardly moments. I was definitely Piglet in Winnie the Pooh! Perhaps this is why so many of my books involve fearful characters. It’s a character trait that I relate to all too easily. Writing about my fears gives me some insight to them and, hopefully, it helps my readers as well.


I wrote...

There Might Be Lobsters

By Carolyn Crimi, Laurel Molk (illustrator),

Book cover of There Might Be Lobsters

What is my book about?

Suki is a very small dog who is afraid of pretty much everything at the beach—waves, beach balls, lifeguards, and, of course, lobsters. But when Suki’s very best toy, Chunka Munka, starts floating out to sea, Suki must act bravely and quickly in order to save him.

I got the idea for this book from my own small and fearful dog, Emerson. I took him to the dog beach in town every afternoon until one day a three-inch-tall wave knocked him over. He never liked the beach after that. The only thing he would do is sit in a stranger’s lap, so I figured he could easily just sit in my lap at home without having to pay for the dog beach.

Riders of Judgment

By Frederick Manfred,

Book cover of Riders of Judgment

Riders of Judgment is part of a series of high-geared western novels by Frederick Manfred, whose best-known work is Lord Grizzly. I choose this novel because of its fictional and figurative treatment of the Johnson County War, a famous event in Wyoming history. In his fictional treatment, Manfred gives symbolic and mythic dimensions to his characters, and he tells a compelling story with original, not standard, characters. Several years ago, when Manfred came to our college in Wyoming to participate in a literary conference, he told us about how, in the mid-1950s, he researched the area and interviewed family members of some of the original participants. 


Who am I?

As a college instructor and a student of Western American Literature for many, many years I have read a great number of western novels for my classes and for my literary studies. In addition to my doctoral dissertation on the topic, I have written and published numerous articles and reviews on western writers, and I have given many public presentations as well. I have a long-standing interest in what makes good works good. As a fiction writer, I have published more than thirty traditional western novels with major publishers, and have won several national awards for my western novels and short stories. 


I wrote...

Dark Prairie

By John D. Nesbitt,

Book cover of Dark Prairie

What is my book about?

Dark Prairie is a frontier mystery, the first in the series of novels and shorter pieces about the enigmatic agent of justice named Dunbar. This novel has the features of others in the series. The story is told by an observer who lives in the place where Dunbar arrives. In the course of events, Dunbar solves the mystery of an older crime and links it to crimes that occur during the narration. In Dark Prairie, a young Hispanic girl has been missing for several years, and the townsfolk do not consider her case important. Dunbar leads the townspeople to solve the case, and in so doing, he brings resolution to a crime that, unresolved, is a moral threat to the social body.

The Broken Gun

By Louis L'Amour,

Book cover of The Broken Gun

The Broken Gun has one of the tightest plots of any of the many Western novels from the late, great Louis L’Amour. L’Amour’s Westerns are almost all set in the mid-1800s. His good guys are good, and his bad guys bad. His books are all fun, easy to read, full of action, and keep you turning the pages. Some readers think Louis L’Amour was a 2nd rate writer…but he knew what he was doing & literally millions of folks have loved his books. Many, like myself, have read all of his Westerns, some of them several times. When I go camping I always toss in a few of his paperbacks. When it’s too windy to fish, I kick back and re-read a Louis L’Amour Western. Always fun.


Who am I?

I am best known for my books on allergies and horticulture. But my first love was always writing fiction, and the first two books I ever sold, were both novels. I know a lot about exciting historical novels because I’ve read so many of them. I read; I don’t watch TV. I love history, and historical fiction that has good, strong characters that I can give a hoot about. And I love books that are full of action, where something exciting is always happening or just about to. A plug: I believe I’ve now written some books myself that fit that bill.


I wrote...

Cowboys Don't Shoot Magpies

By Thomas Leo Ogren,

Book cover of Cowboys Don't Shoot Magpies

What is my book about?

In 1866, two kids, Heidi, 12, and JoJo, 7, are suddenly orphaned and alone in the middle of the wild West. Danger lurks around every bend in the trail. They are hundreds of miles from the nearest town. Accompanied by JoJo’s pet magpie and his one-eyed wolf-dog, One-Eyed Jack, they start walking, heading west.

This story has been a hit with all who have read it. A 6th-grade teacher read it, a chapter at a time, as a treat for her students, all of whom loved it. They begged me to write a sequel, which I’ve just finished called Talking to Magpies. One reader wrote that he bought a Kindle version, started to read it in the morning, and didn’t stop until 9 pm when he’d finished it.

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