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Review – Raspberry Sassafras: I Am A Cow

  • Book Style: Storybook for school, toddlers, and kids
  • Reading Level: 2 (Reading With Help due to: mid-range length and some difficult vocabulary)
  • Reading Length: 12-15 minutes (FYI – we never account for toddler questions)
  • Illustration: Simple, cute, and fun
  • Age Target: 2-8 Years of Age
  • Author: Allison Holland
  • Author’s Page: Allison Holland
  • Book Purchase Page: Lulu – $15.72 USD today, $18.49 USD regular price
  • Social Media Links: N/A

The Story
Raspberry Sassafras: I Am A Cow is the second book in Allison Holland’s kids book series named after a cow.  The second book follows Raspberry and her best friend Jane (whom she lives with) in the big city.  We also reviewed the first book in this series, so if you want to read that click here.

The book starts off by telling us how Raspberry and Jane live in the city.  Essentially, Jane takes Raspberry to parks and other grassy areas and Raspberry eats.  While that seems a little on the boring side (personally), there’s also the ever-so-secret fact that Raspberry can fly!  Jane and Raspberry obviously take advantage of this fact and they go flying all the time.

After giving us an update on Raspberry and Jane, the book moves on to what I’d call the main story.  Jane brings Raspberry to a dog park and they’re instantly excited to get in and play with the dogs there.  Raspberry has all kinds of memories come back to her, as she remembers great times playing with little puppies on the farm.  However, when she enters the dog park she finds everyone a little less than friendly.  Raspberry and Jane find out this is simply because a cow is different than a dog.  This makes the both of them sad, but they return to give the speech to end all speeches.  Raspberry delivers her speech with the same passion I have for chocolate, and it wakes up all of the dogs to the fact that being different is a good thing.

Like I said, Raspberry gives the speech to end all speeches.  I kid you not that I have never seen a speech like the one in here in a toddler book.  Not only that, but it had me laughing out loud and struggling to read.  Of course, my little guy thought it was hilarious and almost lost his mind when the speech touched on pooping and then tickling.  He almost couldn’t contain his own poop, but that’s another story for another day.

One of the best things about this book (and the series in general) is that the story is uplifting.  It’s fun to read and the way it’s told by Allison Holland is nearly magical.  She just has a way of describing things that strikes a balance between Captain Obvious and Morgan Freeman.  It’s silly but factual and descriptive.  It’s a balance that screams to toddlers and children alike, and it’s wild to think that Allison Holland can write this way so purposefully.

Yes, officer.

Now, there is no doubt in my mind that the best thing about the book is its message.  I have a personal connection to this message and it’s something I’ve stood by my entire life.  In fact, as I read the line “We’re more alike than we are different” I felt vindicated.

See, there’s quite the cultural discussion going on in the world today.  We talk about race like it’s a thing, but the fact is that race is not a scientifically accepted term.  “We’re more alike than we are different”.  I’ve believed this my whole life and I’ve been vocal about it to the people around me.  The fact that it’s in this book and can be taught to my little guy at such a young age is just so important.  It’s no longer just coming from me, but it’s coming from a book that he loves (already).

The Illustrations
I don’t feel like I have to speak about the illustrations a ton here.  My previous review of the first book in the series touched on what I love about them.  Having said there, Allison has upped her game in this book.

What I’ll say is that the characters are improved.  Their illustrations provide additional depth to the characters and their personalities.  If you need an example, have a look at Raspberry sitting on the ground and tell me what you see.  I see a confused cow (and udders).  The dogs below show a number of different personalities, with each being distinct and dog-like.  It’s an evolution on Allison’s theme of cute and simple and I enjoy the slight addition of depth.

Looks like my last party.  Note: no people.

The Author
The last time I did a review of Allison’s book, I didn’t know her overly well.  However, I could tell that I’d met a positive and upbeat individual who had some great perspectives on life.  I’ve been lucky enough to be able to expand on that relationship and I can point to a few things that make Allison a great teacher for your little toddlers.

Her positive perspective notwithstanding, Allison is someone who’s true to herself and her beliefs.  She’s confident and sure of herself and that comes through in each and every conversation we have.  I love that she doesn’t take life too seriously, and I think all of these things combine to make her a fantastic teacher.  It firmly puts her in the elementary school book author world in my opinion.

She’s a banjo player too!

The Verdict
Listen, if you’re a teacher looking for a series of books that are going to be a hit in your classroom, you’ve found a great one.  This is a great storybook for school and for teachers.  For $15.72 USD (sale price), this is a steal of a deal that you should go and pick up right now, and I know there’s a bulk price as well if you’re ordering for a school or a district.

if you’re a parent of a toddler, I can promise you that your little one is going to fall in love with the characters, the simple illustrations, and the story about this flying and talking cow named Raspberry Sassafras.  If I had a rating system here on Toddler Book Reviews, this might be the highest rated book yet.

Thanks for reading…to your toddlers,

Brian