JUNE 23:

  • It’s the birth date of Theodore Taylor (1921-2006), The Cay.
  • Olympic athlete Wilma Rudolph (1940-1994) was born on this day. Read How Wilma Rudolph Became the World’s Fastest Woman by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by David Diaz.
  • In 1972, Title IX, an amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, is enacted, ensuring equality for girls in education. Read Let Me Play: the Story of Title IX: the Law That Changed the Future of Girls in America by Karen Blumenthal.
  • It’s National Pink Day. Read The Pink Refrigerator by Tim Egan and Pink Me Up! by Charise Mericle Harper.

On June 23, 1868, the first American typewriter was patented by Luther Sholes. Beginning in 1937 the dairy industry has dedicated June as National Dairy Month, a time to call attention to the important role that milk and milk products play in our diets and the outstanding contributions made by dairy farmers.

So how do these seemingly unrelated topics—typewriters, dairy farmers, and cows—connect to children’s books? In Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type author Doreen Cronin, a lawyer by training, weaves these three elements together so perfectly that once you read the book, cows and typing will become intertwined forever.

Farmer Brown is dumbstruck when his cows discover an old typewriter in the barn and begin pecking away at it. “All day long he hears click, clack, moo. Click, clack, moo. Clickety, clackety, moo.” Ultimately typing gives the cows a means to communicate.  Rather than placidly chewing their cuds, they take up a mission. “Dear Farmer Brown, The barn is very cold at night. We’d like some electric blankets. Sincerely, The Cows.” When he refuses to comply with their requests, they go on strike and post a note on the door: “No milk today.” Fortunately for Farmer Brown, he finds a mediator, a duck, but the final page suggests that his troubles may not be over.

Communication skills. Negotiating. Conflict resolution. These heavy matters rarely get presented in a picture book, particularly one that keeps readers laughing from the first page to last. Cronin’s text exemplifies two qualities of great picture book writing: lightness of touch and showing rather than telling. Some of the best moments in this Caldecott Medal Honor book occur in Betsy Lewin’s comic watercolor illustrations, from Farmer Brown with straw in his hat to the expressive faces of the cows as they set out on their course of passive resistance. Both the text and art in Click, Clack, Moo come together perfectly to create a small gem that has readers ages two through eight turning the pages to find out how everything gets resolved.

So if you want to celebrate National Dairy Month and the invention of the typewriter, pick up Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type.You will bring a lot of joy to the young readers in your life if you do.

Here’s a page from Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type:


Originally posted June 23, 2011. Updated for .

Tags: Animals, Cows, Humor
Instructional materials from TeachingBooks.net for Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type


  1. Sydnee says:

    This is a great addition to the almanac, I suggested it to a friend when she was having communication issues at work. Although I’m not certain that she used it with her coworkers we had a great time (re) reading it!

  2. Gail Terp says:

    I love this book. I used it with my fifth grade reluctant writers and they loved it. The stories they wrote!

  3. suzi w. says:

    LOVE THIS BOOK (and its successors). It came out just before I was going into library school. While in library school, I lived above my best friend, her husband and their 6 month old who of course got older every month. We read this book to him and he loved it. So besides the wonderful-ness of this book in its own self, I have the memories of reading to Sue’s first (she now has a brood of three.) I was so excited last night when I saw that this was today’s book!!

    signed, the kid in me, Suzi

  4. G.Perry says:

    I smile and laugh each time I read this book. It also brings back memories about my first typewriter. An old Smith Corona. And then there were the IBMs. Then came a couple of portables, and finally word processing. (I wish I had an old Underwood around just to hear those keys.)

    This book also reminds me of another one that I absolutely love. Clip-Clop by Nicola Smee. Just glorious. Having grown up on a farm with horses, I howl with delight every time I read this one as well.

  5. Jessica says:

    I was so intrigued to learn that this book is often used to teach children about collective bargaining. I wonder if that was a message intended by Cronin?

  6. Anita says:

    Jessica: I don’t think of Click, Clack, Moo as a message book. But Cronin is a lawyer by training, so was at some level aware of the unusual subject matter that she was developing.

  7. Mrs. O says:

    Love this book ! Always read it to my first graders. Of course, I have to preface it with WHAT exactly a typewriter is ! (Look at teacher’s computer. Do you see the keyboard ? That is just like what a typewriter was, but the paper would come out of it too – you didn’t need a separate printer ) Also love the rest of Betsy’s books, and the kids always remember, “She’s the author who wrote about the typing cows !”

  8. Caren R says:

    I know I am way beyond the June 23rd date, but I just wanted to say that one of the proudest moments I have teaching is when a first grader was finally able to read this book out loud to me. She was sooooo excited. She especially loved saying “clickety, clackety, moo.” I love this book!

  9. Tess W. says:

    My Korean students loved this story! The book was incorporated into their English Language text book (which, when I discovered it, made me shriek with joy, thus alarming my poor students) and it was fantastic because whether they were decoding meaning through the illustrations or through what text they understood, they were always grinning and laughing.

    So was I.

  10. Ann T says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MC3zlXfi98Y is the site where I found someone reading the book… I remember when this book first came to the library where I work. It was an immediate “hit”. The concept of cows typing on a typewriter is fun. Maybe in a sequel they will text on a cell phone?

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