Patricia Baehr, author
Patricia Baehr is the author of eleven books for children, including Mouse in the House (Holiday House) and School Isn't Fair! (Simon & Schuster). She lives in Bayville, New York.
Read more about Patricia.
Margot Apple, illustrator
Margot Apple is best known for her collaboration with Nancy Shaw on the Sheep in a Jeep series (Houghton Mifflin). But her favorite books are the one’s that she both wrote and illustrated such as Blanket (Houghton Mifflin) and Brave Martha (Houghton Mifflin). She is always thinking of ideas for more stories to illustrate. There are ideas involving horses (of which she has three), cats (she has seven), people, and magic… no sheep!
Read more about Margot.
- Smithsonian's Notable Books for Children
- Storytelling World Award Honor Book
The Noodlemans' dream of agrarian paradise is nearly thwarted by a haunted henhouse. The novice farmers can't figure out why their 552 chickens aren't laying; neighbor Farmer Hackett tells them it's Boo Cow, who haunts the farm "[e]very night at the stroke of twelve." Sure enough, at midnight they hear, "Thump...Creaaak...Clink-clunk! Clink-clunk!...MOOOOO." Children who have read the sepia-toned prologue page will not be as surprised as the Noodlemans are to learn that Boo Cow isn't nearly as malignant as her reputation has it, and Farmer Hackett's handlebar mustache may clue them in as to the real culprit in the missing-egg mystery. This not-so-frightening ghost story is just right for the Scooby-Doo set, with its appealing greenhorn protagonists and deliberately paced story. Apple's soft, bucolic illustrations gently milk the situation for all its available humor.
First-time farmers Mr. and Mrs. Noodleman are thrilled with the purchase of 552 brand new chickens. "By tomorrow... we'll be up to our eyeballs in eggs!" Mr. Noodleman exclaims. To their dismay, the barn is visited each night by Boo Cow, a bovine ghost whose "soft but unmistakable moo" is so terrifying that the chickens cannot lay a single egg. The Noodlemans devise all sorts of schemes to solve their haunting problem, including a consultation with a psychic, a pink fluffy nightgown for each chicken, and even a confrontation with Boo Cow herself ("Stop it, Boo Cow!... Your ugly mug has frightened its last chicken! Scram! Hit the road! And don't come back!") But is Boo Cow really the cause of the commotion? The Noodlemans' determination to have eggs for breakfast, no matter what, is tempered by the book's overarching messages of protection and forgiveness. A mix of mystery and hilarity, Baehr's (Mouse in the House) story is made far from frightening by Apple's (Little Goose) soft pencil illustrations, as well as an ending that will leave children assured of Boo Cow's gentle nature.
School Library Journal
Mr. and Mrs. Noodleman purchase 552 hens with the idea of selling eggs, but the chickens don't lay any. A neighbor tells Mr. Noodleman that a ghostly cow is haunting the coop and frightening the hens. That night, the Noodlemans hear stomping and clanging noises coming from the henhouse. It's Boo Cow! After several similar nights, Mrs. Noodleman takes four chickens into the house and settles them on the foot of the bed, hoping for enough eggs for breakfast. That night Boo Cow enters the bedroom and frightens everyone. Mrs. Noodleman shoos her away, and the four chickens produce some eggs. Still no eggs appear in the henhouse. Finally, the farmers move their own bed out to the coop, where they discover the real thief. The lead and pastel pencil illustrations are soft and dreamy, and perfect for a ghost story. All of the faces, human, chicken, and ghost, are expressive. However, there are too many unanswered questions, such as why the ghost cow is there, leaving parents with a lot of explaining to do.
In this humorous and sweet but rarely scary ghost story, Mr. and Mrs. Noodleman realize their dream of being farmers by restoring a derelict farm, purchasing 552 chickens, and opening the Chicken Noodle Farm. The only problem is that the farm is haunted by a ghost cow that seems to frighten the chickens so much they refuse to lay. Later, however, the culprit is revealed to be a neighboring farmer with his own egg business. Boo Cow, in fact, helps the Noodlemans apprehend the villian, and the family, chickens, and ghost cow live happily ever after. Softly rendered with pencil and muted pastels and featuring cartoonish characters, the illustrations play up the humor with a ghost that looks soft and cuddly and anything but menacing. With a text chockful of action and playful words, this offbeat story will be popular for storytimes.
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Page count: 32
9 x 9