Lots of Prek Learning Opportunities with the Cows Can’t Series

Posted on July 1st, 2020 by Carolyn Hart in Outstanding Picture Books to Enjoy at Home or at School

Storytime Standouts takes a look at the Cows Can't series of books for preschool-age children

It is not often that we write about an entire series of picture books. This week, we had an opportunity to look at all of the books in the “Cows Can’t” series. We looked at the board book and paperback editions. The books are also available as ebooks and hardcovers.

The “stubby and stout” board books are a good size for small hands. The paperback editions are large enough to share in a group setting but not-too-large for young children to manage comfortably.

The series’ illustrations are a highlight, they appear to be drawn and painted on a canvas backdrop. We especially appreciated the intensity of the colors in the two later books.

Cows Can't Jump written by Dave Reisman and illustrated by Jason A. Maas

Cows Can’t Jump written by Dave Reisman and illustrated by Jason A. Maas

Picture book about animal behaviors published by Jumping Cow Press

While sharing a message that is respectful of individuality and tolerant of differences, author Dave Reisman introduces a menagerie of four-legged, winged and scaly creatures. Cows Can’t Jump features rich vocabulary very young children are unlikely to encounter in everyday conversation – “Bulls can’t slither … but they can stampede.” and “Cats can’t wallow… but they can pounce.” Sharing these books and others like them offers a terrific opportunity for vocabulary development, especially when adults “extend the learning” by talking about and even demonstrating word meanings.

The series is best-suited to preschoolers although it is worth mentioning that some children may find the random mix of farm animals, jungle animals and domestic animals surprising or confusing. For children who are concerned about animal habitats, this can be presented as adding an element of silliness to the story.

Cows Can’t Jump is also available in a bilingual edition that includes both Spanish and English: Las vacas no pueden saltar (Bilingual Spanish/English Edition of Cows Can’t Jump (Cows Can’t Series)) (Spanish Edition)

Cows Can’t Jump: Animal Actions at Amazon.com

Cows Can’t Jump: Animal Actions at Amazon.ca

Cows Can't Quack written by Dave Reisman and illustrated by Jason A. Maas

Cows Can’t Quack written by Dave Reisman and illustrated by Jason A. Maas

Picture book about animal sounds published by Jumping Cow Press

Whereas Cows Can’t Jump focussed on animal actions and verbs, Cows Can’t Quack playfully introduces animal sounds and the words we use to name them, Monkeys can’t bleat … but they can chatter.” and “Wolves can’t snort… but they can howl.”

Cows Can’t Quack: Animal Sounds at Amazon.com

Cows Can’t Quack: Animal Sounds at Amazon.ca

Cows Can’t Spin Silk (originally published in 2016) shares what woodpeckers, alligators, spiders, skunks, wasps and beavers can do.

Cows Can’t Blow Bubbles (published in 2019) introduces the engaging action words associated with peacocks, swans, pufferfish, Beluga whales, pelicans, gnats and more.

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