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Little Voices, Big Ideas: Click, Clack, Moo - Cows That Type

On this episode of ‘Little Voices, Big Ideas’, a moooving discussion about Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin’s Caldecott Award winning book, ‘Click Clack, Moo: Cows That Type.’

Farmer Brown has a problem. Not only have his cows taken up… typing, but they’ve used their newfound skill to put their hooves down. The barn, they say, in typewritten notes tacked to its door, is cold. And unless Farmer Brown supplies them with some electric blankets to help them brace the herd against the biting chill? Well? No more milk.

Not one to be cowed by the threats of… cows, Farmer Brown lets the herd know it’s a no-go. But then hens cluck up, too, hatching a plan to join the cows. No blankets? No eggs.

What’s a Farmer Brown to do?


‘Little Voices, Big Ideas’ organizes itself around the idea that children’s picture books build solidarity–and allow us to have collective conversations–brothers and sisters and grownups, alike–about the big ideas that strike chords in all of our hearts. This season, the big deal of democracy. Each episode, we explore a story with themes like justice, liberty, and speaking truth to power… or, speaking MOO to power.

On this episode, Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin’s Caldecott Award winning book, Click Clack, Moo: Cows That Type. Published in 2000, this barn-raiser of a book uses anthropomorphism (that’s when non-human things, like cows, take on human characteristics, like announcing a milk-strike through type-written notes) to help the youngest among us understand labor moooovements.

Jojo and James
photo by James Brown
Jojo and James

Joining the herd on this episode are children’s book author and historian, Freddie Evans, philosophy professor to the youngest among us, Thomas Wartenberg, and literacy scholar and writer, Kyley Pulphus. We will also hear from 7-year-old JoJo and his uncle James, and from some familiar voices from season 1, host Sarah DeBacher’s 9- and 12-year-old sons, Charlie and Robin.

Robin, Sarah & Charlie
photo by George Ingmire
Robin, Sarah & Charlie

We hope you’ll join us, too! Find Click Clack Moo, Cows that Type at your local library and go with us… beyond the bedtime story.

Sarah DeBacher is the Director of Curriculum and Content Development for PRIME TIME Family Reading at the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. Originally from Atlanta, she has lived in New Orleans for 23 years, where she has taught English and writing at the University of New Orleans, Tulane University, and the Bard Early College program. Her publications include “Making it Up as We Go: Students Writing and Teachers Reflecting on Post-K New Orleans” (Reflections: A Journal of Writing, Service Learning and Community Literacy, 2008), “First, Do No Harm: Teaching Writing in the Wake of Traumatic Events” (Composition Forum, 2016), and several essays on living in New Orleans. She is mother to two young sons, three chickens, two cats, and a rescue dog.