Authors: Ken and Angie Lake
Illustrators: Vishnu Madhav and Joyson Loitongbam
Publisher: Sweet Cherry Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-78226-029-5

Little toy, hear this rhyme,
Let it take you back in time,
Tales of sadness or of glory,
Little toy, reveal your story.”
Robin’s grandpa casts his magic spell on the toy in Ken and Angie Lake’s story, Carla the Cow.

Targeted toward preschool to middle school aged children, this small paperback is part of “The Diaries of Robin’s Toys” ten-book series. With no scary or violent scenes, it is ideal to be read out loud to beginner readers due to some complicated words. Having different punctuation, capitalization, and spelling rules in the United Kingdom, the format may confuse American readers. Written on notebook-looking lined paper with easy-to-read font, the black and white illustrations by Madhav and Loitongbam are simplistic yet understandable.

In this charming short tale, Robin and Grandpa go the car boot sale (similar to a swap meet in America), where Robin is allowed to pick out one toy. When they are there, they notice Nelly Knitwear is moody and sad.

Robin picks out a sad-looking toy cow and Grandpa casts a special spell on it, knowing it has an interesting story to tell about why it is so snooty and grumpy.

The cow named Carla at first seems stand-offish, preferring snacking on grass instead of cake. She mentions how cows are considered sacred in India and are known as cattle.

As she warms up to the two, she explains that she is lonely and sad because she had no friends where she lived. Stating she was too proud to be friendly, she decided to make a cake. When other cows tasted it, they thanked her but did not tell her how horrible it tasted.

Learning from the cow, Robin and Grandpa realize that people like Nelly can be grumpy and moody but there could be an underlying reason that they are lonely. Making an effort to be a friend is a good way to establish a relationship.

By teaching how to be a friend, this book not only focuses on being kind to others, it provides information on the life of a cow that is fun and interesting. Children will enjoy reading how a toy’s story reveals engaging educational information while teaching an important lesson.

Thanks to the publisher and Bookpleasures for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review of the reader’s honest opinion.