Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cock-a-Moo-Moo By Juliet Dallas-Conte

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Cock-moo-moo-Juliet-Dallas-Conte/dp/0333947533/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1263094064&sr=1-1


The beautiful thing about children’s literature is that you can tear through it pretty quickly. Tell the know-it-alls in your book club you just didn’t have time to read Nicholas Sparks’ stupid book because you read about 200 better ones. None of their beeswax that each is twenty pages long and full of pictures.

Such is the case with Juliet Dallas-Conte’s epic Cock-a-Moo-Moo from Little Brown. It’s perhaps 25 pages, but who knows? They ain’t numbered. Could be 40 or 50. Who’s counting? Not the little turds having this read to them. That’s for sure.

But here’s the problem with Dallas-Conte’s tale: Try to read it to your child without giggling. I myself turn into Beavis and/or Butt-head each time I say “Cock-a-Quack-Quack” or “Cock-a-Oink-Oink” to my son. One could imagine the author published the book after a wager with a friend:


Dallas-Conte: I’ll bet you I can publish a children’s book with the word “cock” in it no less than twelve times, including in the title.

Friend: It’s a bet, you naughty little minx.


A bet like this hasn’t been made in the publishing world since Wolfgang Petersen’s wager with one of his German buddies that he could turn Michael Ende’s novel The NeverEnding Story into a homoerotic fantasy film that would be screened at every NAMBLA meeting.

Cock-a-Moo-Moo is your classic loser-turns-hero tale. A rooster (See. Ms. Dallas-Conte never told her friend the main character would be an actual penis) is the laughing stock of an entire farm because he can’t properly cock-a-doodle-doo. Rather than turning the place into Columbine or setting all the animals ablaze with his telekinetic chicken powers a la Carrie, the rooster pays a fox to break into the henhouse one night and rape all the hens. Of course, Rooster pulls a swerve on the fox, clucking like a maniac, thereby waking up the animals so that they may chase the rapist fox away.

Oh, yeah. They may have come to snuff the rooster, but he ain’t gonna die. This is important because roosters had a bad name in 20th century American literature for years with Foghorn Leghorn shooting his mouth off in the 40s, 50s and 60s. It took a man like Rooster Cogburn and his “It’s payday, boys. Come and get it!” attitude in the 70s to change that. Things took a turn for the worse again when Terry Taylor wrestled as The Red Rooster in the WWF in the late 80s.

But, when the 21st century began, this unnamed fella brought honor to roosters everywhere. Cock-a-Moo-Moo, as far as my lazy bit of research has turned up, is Dallas-Conte’s only children’s book. Oh, she’s illustrated a couple of cookbooks (probably chicken recipes), but this is her To Kill a Mockingbird. And, just as President Bush handed Harper Lee the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007, maybe ole Barack ought to consider handing the same honor to Dallas-Conte for showing us just how brave and hilarious a rooster can be.

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