Prior to my daughter being born, someone insisted that we purchase a copy of the Sandra Boynton's book and CD, Philadelphia Chickens, an "imaginary musical revue." Coming in a single package, Philadelphia Chickens features many distinctly odd songs, things like "Pig Island" (it's about a great island for pigs and is performed by Scott Bakula), "Faraway Cookies" (a torch song for cookies performed by Caitlin McEwan), and the titular "Philadelphia Chickens" (it's about the chickens and is performed by The Bacon Brothers). Our daughter wasn't quite old enough for songs prior to her birth, so we put it on the shelf for a little while, but we soon also found ourselves stocking up on other Boynton books. She has written such classics as Moo Baa La La La (the first book I read enough times in a row to completely memorize), But Not the Hippopotamus (the second book I read enough times in a row to completely memorize), and the Belly Button Book (oh, it's awesome, and the song sung as part of the book appears on Philadelphia Chickens).
All of that is really to say that Sandra Boynton writes weird books, but they're a good weird. Her chosen topic is, virtually without exception, animals – hippos, pigs, dogs, rhinos, moose, and cows – and her books, while certainly enjoyable for children, don't work exclusively for the younger set. No, Boynton's writing is the exact sort that makes adults happy to read to their children. The stories may not contain much of a narrative, but nor are they supposed to – they are odd ideas mixed with clever jokes, and have a sense of whimsy to them that is not often found anywhere.
Boynton is now out with her latest title, Amazing Cows: Udder Absurdity for Children, and it sticks with her tried-and-true crazy-animal-stuff formula. The book does, as the title indicates, focus on cows, but cows are not its exclusive subject; there are chickens and pigs within its pages and the occasional hippo also puts in an appearance. The work is not a single story, but a rather a collection of stories, jokes, poems, a comic book, and even a cow fashion spread (really). In short, it can be placed squarely within Boynton's usual genre and, happily, as with her other works, will provide endless hours of amusement for those young and old.