No Moon No Milk Analysis

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No Moon, No Milk! by Chris Babcock and illustrated by Mark Teague, follows one cow’s dream to live up to her great-great-grandmother’s legacy of jumping over the moon. The author bases the picture book off of a popular children’s nursery rhyme by Mother Goose, “Hey, diddle diddle” known for its distinct imagery of a cow leaping over the moon. Martha Bovine wishes to surpass this feat, despite her owner’s skepticism and rational reasoning. This paper examines the use of text and image to serve a comedic purpose in the picture book, as both a tool to entertain and to educate. The story is plot-driven. A young man, Rob, tries to overcome the absurd impossibility of getting Martha to the moon; he seeks compromises, but Martha is determined. The first line of the picture book sets up both the plot, the main characters and their personal wants and needs. Readers—and listeners—can deduce that Rob is a farmer, as he owns a cow (through the possessive pronoun “his”), and his purpose is to milk it. The artwork plays off of stereotypical expectations of what a farmer looks like, as he is clad in his blue overalls. Martha’s wants and needs are explicitly referenced in the dialogue on the first page, but from the first line, the reader can surmise that there is a problem, due to the oxymoronic adjectives associated with her work (providing milk): “dry”, and her feelings, as expressed through “wet” tears. Martha is self-aware, and disposes of human-like characteristics such as

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