Released by Scholastic in June, 2015, Cow is my most successful hardback so far in Australia. The illustrations are by the wonderful, now UK based Laura Wood.

You are watching: The cow that jumped over the moon book

Hey diddle diddle

You all know the riddle,

A cow jumps over the moon.

It happened all right,

On a crisp, cloudless night

On the second last Friday in June.

It’s a story about perseverance. It’s a story about training. It’s a story about cows smacking into meteorites and hot air balloons, and sand dunes.

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It’s also a story about friends helping a cow in need.

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And it’s a story about triumph.

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Here is a video of me reading the book to my son Jack who has cerebral palsy.

Here is a blog I wrote, explaining the special significance of Cow, how I came to write it and how I was inspired by Jack.

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The Cow Tripped Over the Moon is a story about perseverance. I love seeing people practice a skill, especially a difficult skill, and do it so many times that eventually it bedearteassociazione.orges easy. I see it in my older two kids, Polly, 8, and Harry, 5, with things like cartwheels, kicking a footy or learning to read. But I dedicated The Cow Jumped Over the Moon to my now four year old, Jack.

Jack has cerebral palsy, a condition that causes muscle spasticity in all four of his limbs. He also has cortical vision impairment, which means he only sees a couple of metres.Everything that Jack tries to do requires perseverance. He cannot walk by himself, or crawl, or sit for very long. Every day he practises these things, and gets tiny improvements to keep us going. When Jack’s in his walking frame, we chant each movement to help him:‘shift weight, step, stretch and push’. At the moment we are aiming to do one hundred steps per day – three sessions, 20-40 steps at a time.

Every day, Jack enthusiastically asks ‘who’s dearteassociazione.orging today?’ and we answer ‘Belinda’, or ‘Ingrid’, or ‘Cathy’, or ‘Ali’ or ‘Ro’, for his life is charted by a parade of therapists and volunteers, all working towards the same distant moons – crawling, walking, dearteassociazione.orgfortable unassisted sitting, fine motor control.

If he wants to pick up a piece of pasta at dinner, Jack might make ten attempts with his better left hand. Then, finally, he gets his pasta. We are having small successes with spoons, particularly with motion towards mouth. Obtaining a visual sight on the food, and what we call ‘digging’ is still a fair way off.

Jack adores books. His favourite at the moment is The Book With No Pictures and he always interrupts the first page with the question ‘who wrote this?’ He’s a long term Mo Willems devotee, and we often read him a book while demanding that he hold a sitting position, or a four point position. He still manages to enjoy the book.

The Cow Tripped Over the Moon was his favourite for a stretch, and he memorised the whole thing. Here’s an audio rendition of us doing it together.

He is such a beautiful and brave boy. He tries so hard. Sometimes, he attempts to do deals. We say ten more steps until a (held in arms) bounce on the trampoline. He says, ‘maybe just go have bounce now.’

When he’s tired and grumpy he’ll say that he doesn’t want to do any more, but he’ll usually have one more go. He likes to be ‘Roughy’ – Jarryd Roughead is his favourite Hawk – and he’ll shout ‘Gooooal’ as he inches an indoor soccer ball half a metre along.

Jack is only four, but he’s my inspiration. Jack is also the inspiration for The Cow Trips Over the Moon. I wanted to create a character who, like our Jack, never gives up.

‘Hey Diddle Diddle’ has long been my favourite nursery rhyme. The image of a cow jumping over the moon is so romantic, and the two things dearteassociazione.orgbined to make this book. My first attempt at writing the story was much longer. I wrote a manuscript for a middle grade reader called ‘The Cowolympics’. It featured a young cow dearteassociazione.orgpeting at the bovine sports carnival of the year. The main event is, of course, the Open Age Moon Jump.


The story was meant to be an against the odds sports story, a bit like The 27th Annual African Hippopotamus Race. It was okay, but maybe just missed the mark. I read through my first draft and thought, ‘this would be better as just a series of moon attempts, with the skeleton of the original rhyme’. It didn’t take long to write the text. Maybe two days or so. Once I had the idea and the format the words came easily. My favourite line is ‘It seems a

moon clearance /Takes great perseverance.

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My other favourite line is the dedication:

‘For my beautiful Jack. You will jump moons.’


AT WTBA we love a fractured fairy tale – and we love this fractured nursery rhyme!At WTBA we love a fractured fairytale - and we love this fractured nursery rhyme!

Nursery rhymes are often the currency of childhood – they’re what we repeat endlessly while driving, they’re the way we send a child off to sleep, they’re how we show visiting relatives just how brilliant our two-year-old can be: “listen to this!” we say and start our little one off on a well-loved rhyme.

Nursery rhymes are also, frequently, a little absurd – a cow who jumped over the moon? What on earth? How did that happen – and why?