Flying Cow Christmas Book Wins Prestigious MOO-berry and Calde-COW Awards--Makes Great Christmas Gift for All Ages

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“Mr. Gonopolis And His 12 Holsteins – A Christmas Story” has swept the two top awards given by the St. Olaf Township, Minnesota, branch of the fictitious Children’s Holstein Literature Foundation (CHLF).

“Mr. Gonopolis And His 12 Holsteins – A Christmas Story” has swept the two top awards given by the St. Olaf Township, Minnesota, branch of the fictitious Children’s Holstein Literature Foundation (CHLF).

The story, which features a jolly farmer and his twelve milk cows who must deliver the Christmas gifts for Santa and his reindeer when illness strikes the North Pole, was recently published in an all-new 20th anniversary hardcover edition. It’s available direct from the author, Uncle Hyggly, at http://www.woundedcoot.com as well as at Amazon.com.

In the story, Mr. Gonopolis is activated as a member of the Emergency Substitute Santa Claus Corps, an elite group of standby-Santas needed in the event of a disaster, or in this case, a winter cold.

Mr. Gonopolis and his cows survive a series of misadventures, including a rooftop crash, ferocious dogfish and -- despite a heroic turn by a group of buzzing barn flies -- a near-drowning in the ocean (with a last minute save by the Earth’s largest mammal), only to find out they really messed up Santa’s instructions. What will the Man in Red say about this?

While the story is essentially the same as the first edition, which became a regional bestseller and family favorite, the illustrations are all-new and in lush two page spreads. “Now presented in an HDTV widescreen format, only in book form,” Hyggly explained.

A companion audio CD, which was released too late for the awards competition, features the music of Minnesota composer/performer George Maurer and narration and character voices by Hyggly. Like the book, the audio companion spins a tale full of heart, love and the true meaning of Christmas. With jokes.

The MOO-berry and Calde-COW awards, given annually, are meant to honor the highest degree of excellence in children’s media featuring holstein cows. The MOO-berry is awarded for achievement in writing, the Calde-COW for illustration.

“Our awards should not be confused with the Newbery and Caldecott awards given by American Library Association,” said Torval Torgerson, CHLF spokesperson.” For one thing, they are a real group,” he explained. “We’re not just saying Newbery and Caldecott or Caldecott and Newbery simply to get this news release found in search engines when Internet users search for Newbery and Caldecott, because that would be wrong -- to simply repeat Newbery and Caldecott and Caldecott and Newbery over and over and over again. Newbery and Caldecott. Did I mention that we are NOT the American Library Association?”

Torgerson said the committee was “knocked out” by the amazingly-lifelike images of Holsteins in the book. Their first question to Hyggly was if he had traced them, but he told the committee that he had originally tried that but the Holsteins wouldn’t stand still long enough.

The awards were presented in a two-minute ceremony in the Johnson pasture, after which all the farmers had to go back to work. Emma Olson provided sandwiches, hot dish, and a watered-down Kool-Aid beverage called Ephriam’s Treat, for the group.

The book had previously won the same honors from the neighboring Tordenskjold Township arm of the foundation, which awarded the distinction before publication. The St. Olaf branch said they were not aware of this, but that the two arms of the association hadn’t spoken since Tordenskjold’s president, George Melby, had tipped one of Torgerson’s cows.

“Mr. Gonopolis And His 12 Holsteins – A Christmas Story” is available in both book and audio CD at http://www.woundedcoot.com and Amazon.com.

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Charles Smith-dewey