Moo, Moo, Brown Cow, Have You Any Milk?

Yes, sir, yes, sir. We did have milk at our most recent book club meeting, along with eggs, bread, honey, wool, and hens! Moo, Moo, Brown Cow, Have You Any Milk? by Phillis Gershator is written to the tune of the classic nursery rhyme, Baa, Baa, Black Sheep and features several farm animals and the items we get from those animals (not meat). From sheep–we get wool, geese-down, hens-eggs, bees-honey, and cows-milk. We then learn the way that these items can be used to prepare for bed-time: down to make a pillow, wool to make a blanket, eggs (and flour) to make a loaf of bread, honey to put on the bread for a bedtime snack, and milk to drink and get sleepy! All of the animals then head to bed in their respective living quarters, while the little boy in the book heads to his bed and all fall asleep and dream. It’s a gentle book that sung softly makes a lovely lullaby for babies through preschool aged children.

Our book club relished the opportunity to use the book as a way to demonstrate food sources to our children. One of the families in our book club has backyard chickens, so we met at their home and while we read, the hens wandered around us (and through us)! The chickens, already accustomed to young children, were amenable to all of the kids in our group holding, petting, and feeding them throughout the morning. After we read the book, we passed around some sheep’s wool for the children to feel. Next it was time to “retrieve some eggs from the hens.” We asked each member of our group to bring one hard-boiled egg per child that we staged in an un-used area of the hen’s coop. Each child then got to pick an egg and drop it into the basket (this is where the hard-boiled part came in handy–less mess to deal with if an egg cracked a little from over-eager little hands)! The kids then helped peel the eggs for snack. We also had fresh-made bread and honey that came from our host’s relative’s bees! And of course, we had milk to drink (from a local creamery no less)! Most of the children ate this snack very well and even came back for seconds (making it an early lunch for a few)! Please note that honey and milk (and sometimes eggs and wheat) are not for children under the age of 1, so even though we did have some babies in our group, only the children who were old enough ate the snack for this meeting.

We are so grateful to our friends/book club members for hosting this meeting and providing such a wonderful opportunity for our kids. Although this particular meeting would be difficult to replicate unless you know someone with chickens (or other farm animals), you might be able to create a similar experience by visiting a local petting zoo/farm. Perhaps you might choose to make a home-made loaf of bread instead with your child or go to a local farm to buy your eggs, honey, and milk. Regardless, we love the peacefulness of this book and highly recommend it as a calming bed-time story and song.

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