Audrey (cow)

Category: Book
By (author): Bar-el, Dan
Subject:  JUVENILE FICTION / Action & Adventure / Survival Stories
  JUVENILE FICTION / Age 7-10 Canadian
  JUVENILE FICTION / Animals / Cows
  JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Friendship
Publisher: Tundra Books
Published: September 2016
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 240
Size: 8.00in x 6.19in x 0.62in
Our Price:
$ 12.99
Available to order

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*Audrey is a cow with poetry in her blood, who yearns for the greener pastures beyond Bittersweet Farms. But when Roy the horse tells this bovine dreamer that she is headed for Abbot's War, the slaughter house, Audrey knows that she must leave her home and friends sooner than she ever imagined. With the help of a whole crew of animals and humans alike, Audrey attempts to escape the farm she lives on--and certain death. Cleverly written as an oral account, this unique illustrated tale of an animal on the run, told "to camera", uses over thirty narrative voices, including six humans, four cows, three sheep, two sheep dogs, one pig and a very silly rooster. Full of heart and humor, Audrey (cow) is ultimately a very human story about life and death, friendship, and holding on to one's dreams--based more or less on a true story.

From the Hardcover edition.
Review Quote*Kirkus Reviews' Best Children's Books of 2014 (categories: best middle-grade science fiction, fantasy and adventure; best middle-grade books of 2014 for readers who like quirky)
Nominated, The Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Awards, 2014
Selected, New York Public Library's list of "100 Children's Books for Reading and Sharing 2014"
Selected by Michele Landsberg for the Children's Book Panel, Winter 2014 (CBC Radio's The Next Chapter)
Selected as number 10 on Today's Parent's list of Top 10 Middle Grade Books of 2014
"Move aside Wilbur and Babe. There's a new farmyard hero in town, and she has no desire to end up hamburger. In a multiple-perspective, documentary-like format, each animal tells its part of the story with terrific humor and personality. …the many voices make the book an ideal read-aloud for a classroom and ideal fodder for readers' theatre. Bar-el is also unafraid to engage in truly lovely descriptive writing. Part Great Escape, part Hatchet, part Charlotte's Web, all wonderful."
- Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
"…[a] cleverly constructed story…. Bar-el creates a humorous chorus of perspectives, temperaments, dialects, and cadences….. Thoroughly charming…."
- Starred Review, Publishers Weekly
"Animal Farm meets The Great Escape…. The back-and-forth among the characters is over the top… but Bar-el pulls it off with great charm. The result is purely delightful, as are Tatjana Mai-Wyss's appropriately vintage-looking spot illustrations. The short first-person passages help move the story along, ending with a comedy-of-errors that culminates in Audrey happily living out her days at an animal sanctuary. Bar-el manages to gently and thoughtfully introduce kids to the concept of the abattoir while also underscoring that a farm's very purpose is producing food. At its heart, Audrey (Cow) encourages kids to think even as it entertains- the mark of wonderful children's literature."
--Starred Review, Quill and Quire
"This is no simple farm story; it is a powerful tale that takes a philosophical stance against today's meat industry. Written in transcripts of interviews from the perspective of various animal and human characters, the book emphasizes the emotional reactions of those surrounding Audrey. These monologues give readers the opportunity to discern different perspectives about the same events. Readers must make conclusions and predictions about the events, weighing the relative reliability of the various narrators. A unique approach to a sensitive topic."
--Starred Review, School Library Journal
"Bar-el cleverly finds a special voice for each creature-speaker which makes its personality and character type perfectly clear to the reader. His sociological and psychological insights into farmyard and city life, wryly amusing as they may be for adults and more sophisticated readers, are likely to go over the heads of younger listeners. However, Audrey (cow) is a not-to-be missed book which treats themes of life and death and friendship in a manner both wise and light-hearted. As a read-aloud, the book will be something of a challenge (but also fun) for the adult reader to ‘perform' in front of an audience of 7 to 10-year-olds. Some subtleties will certainly go over their heads, but the story is guaranteed to hook even the wiggliest of listeners. Tatjana Mai-Wyass' appealing black and white drawings do an excellent job of conveying the traits of the characters as well as the humour of the text."
- Highly recommended, CM Magazine
 "…Dan Bar-el starts with a true story and expands on it, granting voices and agency to his animal characters…occasional black-and-white drawings (here by Tatjana Mai-Wyss) add visual interest and help emerging readers relate to the unusual narrators. Elementary school readers can cheer for Audrey's quest while an older audience can giggle at the clever wordplay…focus on the postmodern storytelling, the perfect combination of humor and pathos and the determination of a cow who isn't willing to give up."
- BookPage, November 2014
"Since this is a MG book, I don't think it's much of a spoiler to say that this is the story of Audrey's escape. What I won't spoil is the how of the matter– the escape is rather magnificent in its scope, involves a colourful cast of characters, and shuttles between brave and ludicrous, touching and hilarious. In terms of plot, this is all I'll say. The star of this story, however, is the style and format…Of course, as with all of Dan Bar-el's projects, his words are accompanied by some rather sweet illustrations. Mai-Wyss' illustrations are just magical enough to give the animals characters and just real enough to give every situation an element of gravitas. There's a sketchy, water-colour feel to the illustrations that immediately lets you settle into the story and works really well with the orality of the narration."
- thebookwars
"This book was exciting. It seemed like something really tragic was going to happen, but then it was okay. I liked this book because the pictures it had were fun pictures and it was easy to read, and it is good to read when you are going on a long drive because then you don't have to put it down!"
 - San Francisco Book Review

From the Hardcover edition.
Biographical NoteDan Bar-el is an award-winning children's author, educator and storyteller. His writing includes chapter books, picture books, and most recently, a graphic novel. For the past twenty years, Dan has been working with children ages 3 to 13. He's been a school age childcare provider, a preschool teacher, a creative drama teacher and creative writing teacher. These days, when not writing, travelling around the country presenting his book, storytelling or leading various workshops at schools and libraries, he teaches creative writing courses to children with the organization CWC. Dan lives in Vancouver, BC and shares his life with artist and goldsmith, Dominique Bréchault, and Sasha, the most adorable cat in the known universe.

Tatjana Mai-Wyss was born in Switzerland. She has always loved books, so bringing stories to life with her art is the best job she can imagine. She has illustrated a number of books for children. Surprisingly, many of them feature cows! A vegetarian herself, Tatjana can relate to Audrey's desire not to be eaten. Tatjana currently lives in South Carolina with her family and a small menagerie of pets. See more of Tatjana's art at

From the Hardcover edition.