Review of The Cow Said Neigh! Picture Book

The Cow Said Neigh! is a new children’s book by Rory Feek. Rory Feek is an accomplished country music writer who has written songs for a whos-who of country music stars, including¬†Clay Walker, Blake Shelton, and Tracy Byrd. Country music fans might also recognize his name from the country and bluegrass duo Joey + Rory. They were were a husband and wife duo who finished third in CMT’s “Can You Duet” competition in 2008, and went on to popularity, producing eight studio albums. Two of these, Inspired: Songs of Faith & Family and Hymns that are Important to Us, consisted of hymns and gospel music.

In February 2014, Joey Martin Feek gave birth to a little girl named Indiana. Only a few months later in May she was diagnosed with terminal cervical cancer. She passed away in March 2016. You can watch a recent appearance on the Rachael Ray show here where Rory tells the story and the story of his remarkable wife (in addition to this book, Rory Feek recently released an autobiographical account of their story, which you can fine here–it’s a remarkable story that ). What makes the story even more poignant is that little Indy was born with Down Syndrome, and yet you can see how much love this father and daughter share.

This children’s book came out of that relationship–as Rory Feek found himself reading children’s books to his daughter all the time, he decided to write one of his own. And it’s good. The rhymes are natural without being simplistic, a reflection of Rory’s songwriting skills.

The storyline is very humorous. You follow different animals in a barnyard, but instead of your typical “the cow goes moo” or “the pig goes oink”, it seems that all the animals want to do their own thing (which might remind you of the little animal in your life). It’s a great story to read with a child who’s already mastered the basic animal sounds, and who will understand the irony of a horse saying “quack”, a duck saying “baa”, and a cat saying “hello”.¬†SPOILER ALERT: The payoff is that at the end of the book it comes down to the farmer, who takes in all that’s just happened in his barnyard and lets out a hearty “Mooooo”.

I was expecting to see some kind of moral to the story–for example, how everyone should be happy with who they are, how everyone should accept those who are different from them, or so on. But there really wasn’t one. I guess if there’s some kind of lesson to be gleaned, it’s just not to take yourself too seriously, a lesson which a lot of grown-ups could stand to learn in this day and age. Otherwise, I’d enjoy it for what it is, just a silly story that’s a whole lot of fun to read with your child.

The illustrations by Bruno Robert are funny and colorful. As with most great children’s books, there are lot of things to see in the pictures which will keep them engaged.

This is definitely one on the short list of books that I’ll be reading with my toddler. It stands on its own as a great book, but knowing the back story make it all the more compelling a book to have in my library.