First Review. More to come in time…
If you haven’t come across this one, don’t feel bad – it is a relatively unknown book by author Lachie Hume, from Adelaide Australia who only has one other book in his bibliography. I came across this kid’s book while I was at Uni, when one of the then publishers of Omnibus books came to visit. I was immediately drawn to the story – not only for the story it tells, but also due to the fact that the author was only 12 years old when he wrote it – and didn’t publish it until his adulthood. There is a cute little blurb at the front of the book that tells the story of Lachie handing this story in for an assignment and getting a 9/10… possibly due to Clancy is a boy, and there are no boy cows (they are bulls). This has now become a staple in the nighttime reading list my daughter requests.
The tale begins with Clancy – a cow – who is born into a herd of Belted Galloways – but unfortunately he was born without a belt – he is totally black. Seen as an outcast at first, he does everything in his cow control to give himself a belt (humorously, like putting a bandage on, and covering himself with ice or sugar).
His herd lives in a pasture next to another herd, called the Herefords, who are all much bigger and stronger, as they have the better pasture. The Herefords have had the grazing rights to the better pasture, because they have won it – in the COW WRESTLING CONTEST – which is held every year.
He is soon the pride of his herd as he is able to sneak into the neighboring field at night and eat the better pasture. Because he has no belt, he is invisible in the dark, as all the belted cows belts glow in the dark!
While doing this, he meets a totally red female Hereford, Helga – who too has been an outcast in her own herd. Because he is able to get in at night, he too grows bigger, and this then allows him to compete, and win the contest.
Instead of taking the pasture back, Clancy and Helga, who have now fallen in love tell their herds that they should all come together, and be cows together. They herds agree, and all become friends. The book ends with Clancy and Helga having their own child, called Clanga.
I find this story to be charming in the fact that Clancy has to come to terms with his being different, and that he has to both come to terms with his indifference. It can show kids that despite our differences, we are all unique and strong in certain ways.
Also that he meets someone who is going through the same thing as he is. It is also a good tale of mix race relationships.
These two themes may not have been intentional to the 12 year old author at the time, but they are themes I have picked up.
It is a cute charming story, if you can find it – then definitely worth a read or buy.