Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
In this sweetly engaging chapter book, two siblings visit their grandparents' farm for Christmas. Liam, an especially sensitive bibliophile (he takes 37 books along), notices "White Cow" standing all alone in their field and worries she's lonely. While initially reluctant, narrator Lily goes along with Liam's plan to buy a cow friend for White Cow; as they pool their money, Liam posts signs asking for help from the community and sells his books. With MacLachlan's well-drawn characters and Floca's simple pencil and graphite drawings, it's a poignant story with a classic feel. Ages 7-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal Review
Gr 2-4-Lily and her younger brother go to their grandparents' farm for Christmas, as always. This year something is different; White Cow is the only animal in the field. Liam, certain that she is lonely, sacrifices his beloved books to buy her a calf companion, and Lily overcomes her fear of the large animal. The simple, elegant prose tells a warm family story with a classic holiday theme. Floca's graphite and ebony pencil drawings are lush with evocative detail and perfectly complement this lovely offering.-Virginia Walter, UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Chapter-book readers in search of a cozy, heartwarming read will find MacLachlan's latest even cozier and more heartwarming than expected. It's the story of Lily and her younger brother, Liam, who are spending the few days leading up to Christmas on the farm with Grandpa and Gran. It's a beloved annual tradition, only this time Liam's concern for the farm's sole remaining cow threatens to overwhelm everything. He will spoil our vacation, frets Lily. I know this. But after Liam researches the emotional lives of cows and puts up flyers reading WANTED: A cow friend for a lonely, sad cow, Lily finds herself engaged in his mission. If it sounds saccharine, it's not MacLachlan knows just when to drop realistic details that give the narrative a grounding weight. Meanwhile, Floca's black-and-white illustrations are mysterious enough to avoid sapping the imagination kids will need to fill the gaps between the spare prose. The gramd ending, though over the top, will still draw forth the awed whispers parents especially like to hear around Christmas.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2009 Booklist
Horn Book Review
(Primary, Intermediate) Lily and Liam love visiting their grandparents every Christmas. They take walks, read, and buy gifts for their family -- but this year is different. Liam can't stop thinking about Gran and Grandpa's cow and how lonely she must feel now that she's the only animal left on the farm. Lily resents his worrying, which threatens to ruin their usual carefree stay, and tries to convince him that cows don't have feelings. Instead, she finds herself believing that maybe they do. When Liam comes up with a plan to find a friend for White Cow, everyone's Christmas, not just the cow's, is made merrier. Floca's realistic black-and-white illustrations reflect the solemn tone of MacLachlan's deeply moving tale, narrated in older sister Lily's thoughtful voice. A straightforward text and a heartwarming story make this chapter book a compelling read-aloud; the handsome red-and-gold jacket is all the wrapping this gift requires. From HORN BOOK, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
Newbery Medalist MacLachlan offers a quietly moving Christmas story that illustrates the power of children to change their world. Lily, the first-person narrator, and her younger brother, Liam, spend every Christmas vacation at their grandparents' farm. Liam wants to buy a cow as a companion for the family's pet, White Cow, who seems lonely out in the field by herself. By Christmas Eve, Liam has raised enough money to buy a calf companion, but there is also a Christmas surprise of several cow visitors brought by neighbors to keep White Cow company for the holiday. MacLachlan uses her typical taciturn style featuring dialogue and minimal description to convey the intense feelings of the sensitive little boy trying to accomplish a seemingly impossible task. Floca's delicate, full-page pencil illustrations complement the text with understated emotion. (Fiction. 7-10) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.