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Review – Raspberry Sassafras: The Famous Flying Cow

  • Book Style: Cow story for toddlers and children
  • 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: Cute cows and funny (yet basic) scenes
  • Age Target: 2-8 Years of Age
  • Author: Allison Holland
  • Author’s Page: Allison Holland
  • Book Purchase Page: Lulu – $18.49 USD – Paperback and Amazon – $21.49 USD – Paperback
  • Social Media Links: N/A

The Story
Raspberry Sassafras: The Famous Flying Cow is what we call the trifecta.  It’s the third book in the Raspberry Sassafras series of toddler cow books.  Although we’re reviewing the third book, it’s important to note that we’ve reviewed the other two (and absolutely loved them).  For your reference:
Raspberry Sassafras
Raspberry Sassafras – I Am A Cow

Now, on to our book review!

I don’t want to ruin the whole book for you, but I have to tell you a little about the story.  See, the other books have generally followed the life of Raspberry (the cow) in the big city.  This book does a little of the same, but it’s really focused on a major event: a fire in an apartment building.

Raspberry and Jane spring into action when they see the fire and Raspberry ends up using one of her special skills (flying) to save people from the building.  Obviously, a flying cow creates a buzz in the city and the two protagonists end up celebrities.  So much so that Raspberry ends up in magazines and on T.V. shows.  At the end of the book, there’s a reflection by Raspberry that she’s happy her secret (that she can fly…obviously) is out and that she can be herself.

Which brings me right to my favorite thing about this latest book by Allison Holland.  See, she’s done a pretty sneaky thing by adding a number of moral lessons into this story.  Your toddler is going to pick up quite a few lessons from the story as they’re tucked in all over the place.  From a commentary on how it’s better to be yourself than hide who you are, to a lesson about how friends and family stick together, our author has really put together some important life lessons.  I love books that do this within the story, and that’s been masterfully done here.

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Would you be afraid?

One thing that’s a constant over the entire series is how Allison Holland tells the story.  She has a way of giving incredible details without using difficult vocabulary.  She uses age-appropriate descriptive words that make it easy for toddlers to understand the story.  What’s more, her word choice gives the books a comedic edge that both your and your little one will love.  Need an example?

“Typically, if a cow were to appear at a person’s sixth floor window and shout, “Jump on!”, the person might roll over and pull the blankets closer because flying-talking cows only exist in dreams.”

Tell me you didn’t just laugh. Try it.  See what I mean?  It’s funny stuff in a toddler’s cow book!

As I said before, the story is told in a way that’s described extremely well for toddlers. What’s great is that our author has matched up the illustrations with this. Each scene and every character is specifically designed for young children and it all helps to tell the story.  It’s pretty clear (above) that Raspberry is flying and having a family jump on her back.  It’s also pretty clear that there’s smoke and that the building is on fire.  You (and therefore your toddler) can glean all of this from the illustrations and it really helps to tie everything together.  It also helps with the retention of information, and that’s probably the most important thing about reading with your toddlers!

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I’m told this was a Vanity Fair photo shoot.

Again, we’ve completed reviews of the previous two books and therefore we’ve talked about the illustrations a couple of times.  That means I’m not going to go in depth here, and will instead refer you back to those other reviews.

However, I will say that our author has again upped her game in The Famous Flying Cow.  I think the scenes are more complex and the characters’ faces tell more of what they’re feeling.  I noticed this when my little guy told me that Jane was upset.  He also referenced a few of the illustrations and told me exactly what was happening.  As you can imagine, toddlers don’t always understand what’s going on in a book, so this is a big deal to me.

One of the things that I do every so often is I give you a bit of an insight into an author.  What I’ll say about Allison is simply that I’ve been lucky enough to be able to get to know her.  We’ve spoken a number of times and I’ve learned quite a bit about her (character).  I can confidently tell you that she’s exactly the kind of person that every parent would want to teach their toddler about the world.

I say that for a few reasons.  First and foremost, she is incredibly self-aware.

She knows who she is and she doesn’t apologize for any of who she is.  At the same time, she doesn’t take herself too seriously.  Her style and her approach to life is all her own, and it shines through in her books.  Her confidence and humor comes through in spades and I like to think that it’s imparted on the children reading her books.

Allow me to explain through a picture.  See below for what I received when I asked for a picture of her.

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Super Allison!

Another one of the reasons I say that Allison Holland is a great teacher for children is simply because she has a sense of humor.  Her approach to life is one that can only be described as fun and sometimes silly.  Her stories show this side of her in their cute descriptions and side jokes that only parents will understand.  I think it’s a great way to teach kids about the world because there are a lot of topics in this world that can be very serious and/or dark.

If we get a chance to associate an otherwise serious topic with something funny or happy, I think we should do it.

Now, given that this is the third of Allison’s toddler cow books named after her wonderful character, Raspberry Sassafras, I’m going to have to recommend the series as a whole.  Obviously, we’re sold here at Toddler Book Reviews on this series and so I’m going to tell you to head down to Lulu.com and/or Amazon for a paperback copy of the book.

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Allison’s wholesome family!

Thanks for reading…with your toddlers,
Brian