Audrey (Cow) – A Reading Staycation

As part of my Reading Staycation project we’re looking at children’s books from B.C.-based authors/illustrators, and I’ve got another great title to share with you today. Who knew that my home province was also home to so many talented creators?!

Audrey (Cow) by Dan Bar-el is the funny, heartfelt story of a plucky cow and her bid for freedom. Audrey dreams of a life beyond her home in Bittersweet Farms, and when a fellow inhabitant warns her that she is headed for the slaughterhouse, Audrey decides that she has no choice but to mount a daring escape from the farm and set out on her own.


The story of a farm animal longing for freedom is nothing new – we’ve had Wilbur, Babe, even Ivan the gorilla. What makes Audrey (Cow) so engaging is the way the story is framed. Audrey’s story is recounted by over thirty different narrative voices , who tell the story “to the camera”, as if participating in a documentary. This variety of narrators allows for some engaging changes in perspective and perception, and provides great moments of heart and humour.


Tatjana Mai-Wyss’ charming, elegant pencil illustrations complement the poetic text beautifully, creating an almost nostalgic atmosphere.

I’m not the only person who enjoyed Audrey (Cow) – it’s been nominated or shortlisted for a number of awards, including the:

  • Governor General’s Award
  • Rocky Mountain Book Award
  • Red Cedar Book Award
  • Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Award
  • Maine Student Book Award

It also received a bunch of starred reviews from the likes of Kirkus, School Library Journal and Quill & Quire.

Dan Bar-el is a Vancouver-based award-winning children’s book writer, educator, storyteller and educator who has worked as a preschool teacher, actor, playwright and comedian. You can find more about him on his website, and check out this interview with him on The Book Wars.


One thought on “Audrey (Cow) – A Reading Staycation

  1. Pingback: #IMWAYR – Sept 5, 2016 | Raincity Librarian

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