Chocolate Lily nominee 2007-2008
Canadian Children's Book Centre Our Choice, 2009
A horse is a horse, of course, of course.
(Except maybe when it's a cow!)
Lucille isn't like the other cows on Charlie's farm. Not for her, standing around chewing her cud all day. She yearns to run in a real race, just like Thunder, Farmer Charlie's prize racehorse. Lucille's dissatisfaction with her lot in life - and her strange ambition - confuses the other cows. Even Thunder can hardly disguise his contempt when he reminds Lucille that she is "only a cow". She won't be swayed, and one day when Farmer Charlie takes them all to the fair, Lucille stumbles onto a racetrack, and lines up in the starting gate. "Only a cow" - we'll see about that!
But Lucille soon learns that cows are not like horses at all. The racetrack is much longer than she had imagined, and soon she is exhausted as the horses leave her behind in a cloud of dust. How will she find the strength to finish the race?
A galloping text by Arlene Hamilton runs neck and neck with artist Dean Griffith's delightful paintings of farmers, horses, and mostly placid cows.
Arlene Hamilton grew up in Chateauguay, Quebec, and went to university in Montreal. Arlene has always loved books, and worked in a library for 10 years. When her three children were young she spent many hours reading to them, and that inspired her to start writing. Arlene loves horse racing too, but the closest she ever gets to a racetrack is when her two cats chase each other around the house. She now lives in London, Ontario, with her family.
A nominee for the Mr. Christie's Book Award for Ballerinas Don't Wear Glasses, Dean Griffiths has illustrated a number of books, including The Patchwork House, The Lighthouse Dog, Loon Lake Fishing Derby and Fairy. Dean lives on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, with his wife and three cats.
"Arlene Hamilton's book, Only A Cow, is for all of us who have dreamed of injecting excitement into our daily routines. . .
"Dean Griffiths' watercolour paintings add to the enjoyment of a story well told. The horse race scenes are especially well done. The reader gets a real sense of the power of those mighty animals as they charge around the track. When looking at the paintings, one can almost hear the thundering of the hooves on the soft track as they kick up tufts of dirt and grass.
"Job well done.
— CM Magazine
"If pigs could fly, if cows could talk, it seems certain they'd converse just like Hamilton writes. This tale flows with the charm of fresh country meadow."
— London Free Press
"Only a Cow (is) a book that will draw smiles from children and adults alike. . . The chuckling crowds who give Lucille their support are a lively group and the insouciant pride on Lucille's face as she trots down the track - seen on the cover as well as within the story - are delightful."
— Canadian Children's Book Centre
"Only a Cow is guaranteed to bring a smile to young book lovers. . . The underlying message is, "You can do anything if you try hard enough." Not a bad message for beginning readers."
— Winnipeg Free Press
"The story's positive message, of setting a goal and working hard to achieve it, is enhanced by Dean Griffith's expressive illustrations."
— Daily Press (Timmins)