Zig and Wikki in The Cow HC
Publisher: Toon Books
Release Date: February 2012
Price: $12.95
Creator(s): Nadja Spiegelman (writer) & Trade Loeffler (artist)
Format: 40 pgs.; Full-Color; 6 x 9; Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-9351-7915-3
Age Rating: Suggested for grades 2-3
ICv2 Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

The title is disturbingly literal, since the main characters do spend part of the story inside a cow.  Zig and Wikki are two tiny aliens, whose previous trip to Earth in search of a pet for Zig, for a class assignment, has left him with a pet fly.  The fly isn't prospering on the space ship, so they return to Earth, where Zig becomes fascinated by the ecology of cow poop.  This leads to a brief adventure, both inside and outside a cow.

Because this book is aimed at early readers, the story is simplified, but the vocabulary is designed to stretch their minds.  The inserted science lessons are cute, and gross enough to be entertaining for the intended audience.  Both Zig and Wikki are non-human enough that readers will have to stretch their imaginations, as these characters are very clearly "not like us."

The format, of a fictional story with simple science lessons, is handled well.  This book, like some of the other Toon books, is also designed for parents or teachers to share with children, as it is likely to bring up lots of questions about cows (and cow poop!).

--Nick Smith: Librarian Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.