K-Gr 1-Clancy is a Belted Galloway born beltless. Teased by the others, he tries various methods of blending in, but all fail. The Belted Galloway community itself is the victim of a harsh fate; each year they miss out on the grazing rights to the rich grass because they cannot defeat the Herefords in the annual cow-wrestling competition. When Clancy realizes that, under the protection of his all-black hide, he can sneak into the Herefords' field at night, he grazes and becomes stronger. More importantly, he befriends Helga, an all-brown Hereford. She, too, has known the sting of rejection. When Clancy finally defeats a Hereford, and the Belted Galloways prepare to take over the rich grazing field, Clancy and Helga call for an end to the discrimination. "I say we pull down the fence and be cows together." And they all lived happily ever after. From Margaret Rey's Spotty to Dumbo to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, children have heard this "being different is okay" theme many times before. The illustrations, done in watercolor and graphite pencil, are amusing at times-the spread on cow wrestling maneuvers is a good example-but, over all, this is a force-fed message book.-Kara Schaff Dean, Needham Public Library, MA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Australian newcomer Hume's wry naive illustrations buoy this somewhat clunky story about a misfit cow, in which the explicit message about the importance of diversity overshadows the comedy. Clancy the cow is a "great disappointment for his parents. You see, they belonged to a herd of Belted Galloways, but Clancy had no belt. He was beltless." (Belted Galloways are black with a white band around the middle.) Clancy grows strong by slipping through the fence at night into the Herefords' lush field to graze (without a stripe, "he was invisible in the dark!"), and a Romeo and Juliet subplot emerges in which Clancy falls in love with a "totally brown" Hereford named Helga ("Like Clancy, Helga had always been picked on because she was different"). In the pasture war between the herds, the Herefords have the upper hoof until Clancy wins the wrestling match and proclaims, "I say we pull down the fence and be cows together." Hume's illustrations of the cartoon cows are often amusing. As an outcast, Clancy tries various silly remedies: he paints on a white stripe, sprinkles on white sugar and even rolls in the snow. When Clancy is being trained to fight by some experienced wrestlers, the spread features different cow-appropriate wrestling holds (the Cud Cruncher, the Helicowpter, the Ruminator, etc.). These comic touches leaven the rather heavy-handed message. All ages. (Mar.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.