Moo and Me by Marina Evans, illustrated by Judy Mare

Reviewed by Andrew Rowan – In an earlier issue of Tales of WellBeing, we discussed the role of animal characters in children’s literature. Most of the characters are fictional but Moo and Me tells the true story of the friendship that developed and strengthened between a young girl (Marina Evans) and a young male calf (Moo – a “side-effect” of the dairy industry). Successful children’s books also need great illustrations and Judy Mare has met the challenge.
Her illustrations are delightful and just sufficiently anthropomorphic without being “over the top” to demonstrate the very strong bond that developed between Moo and Marina. As the world becomes increasingly urbanized (55% of the world’s population today) human interactions with animals diminish and most of us are not likely to realize let alone experience that a bovine might have a unique personality. The story is told from Marina’s perspective and emphasizes real-life experiences illustrating the sentience of the animal characters and their ability to think, feel and form strong friendships.

Marina Evans and MooMoo
(Photo by Marina Evans)

The actual publication consists of 37 pages detailing the story of Moo and his two friends – Houdini and Bambi, also bulls who were added to provide Moo with companionship when he grew older and bigger(!). Houdini and Bambi discovered how much nicer it was to spend time indoors in a warm stable when the weather was cold and wet, so they eventually were provided with their own shelter when the horses did not want to share their stables. Moo ended up living a lot longer than the average dairy male calf (usually slaughtered around 6 months) and his story now will inspire thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of children about the importance of caring and respect for others. The book includes another 31 pages of activities (including a friendship game, vegetable growing activities, coloring pages, information on farm animals, and photographs of humans interacting with farm animals). The “Moo and Me” volume is available via Amazon.

 Moo and Me written by Marina Evans, illustrated by Judy Mare, published by Chameleon Books, South Africa, 2019.

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