Author Dave Reisman shares his inspiration behind his Cows Can’t series as well as the impact the books have had on readers.
Jumping Cow Press is an indie children’s book publisher located in Westchester County, New York. Dave Reisman, a retired attorney turned author and publisher, began writing the text for his first book, Cows Can’t Jump, 12 years ago, while his children were still young.
“I’ve always had an interest in words, writing, and reading”, he explains. “In elementary school, I created comic strips with a friend and worked on student newspapers in high school and law school. In college, I was general manager of the college radio station and worked as a DJ there and at a local top 40 station before heading to law school.”
When Dave learned that cows can’t jump while standing still, that fact stuck with him and ultimately led to the creation of his first book. “After I wrote the book and read it aloud to my younger kids, I mentioned I still needed to find an illustrator who could convey the text in a humorous and fun style. They immediately exclaimed in unison, ‘You need to ask Mr. Maas’ (their elementary school art teacher).” Maas has illustrated all four titles in the Cows Can’t series.
“Reading books to our children at bedtime was always a special part of our family routine,” he continues. “After reading aloud countless books over many years, it was very natural for me to create a children’s picture book. The notion that we’re all good at something, even if we’re not great at everything, is a message that I think resonates with all parents and children. Being able to have that conversation with my children as they experienced life’s ups and downs gave this project special meaning for me.”
These days, with his children fully grown, Jumping Cow Press has become Dave’s full-time passion. The Cows Can’t paperback and chunky-style board books have found a welcoming home in the educational, literacy, and bilingual marketplace, with over 500,000 units sold to date!
“The books are intentionally simple, but actually work on several levels. Reading them for the first time, children are introduced to new animals and vocabulary,” Dave explains. Each book focuses on a different theme with a fresh herd of animals: actions, sounds, shapes (think: a sheep can roll into a ball) and what animals can make (think: a spider can weave a web).
“But there are more subtle and deeper messages,” he adds. “At its most basic level, each picture portrays the unique behaviors that only certain animals can perform. On a deeper level, there is a message that just like animals, it’s normal and okay for people to excel at some things but not everything. I think it’s important at an early age to start conversations with young children about resilience and humility. That is something many of us only learn later in life—the hard way—when we run into problems and have to cope.”
“The Cows Can’t books can also be used to explore the idea of acceptance and tolerance for differences, something that is so important to learn, especially in this day and age!” Dave continues. “We all have to find balance in our lives. If a parent wants to take that extra step at night, while reading and bonding, well, it’s a great opportunity for a teachable moment with their children. Building self-esteem is an important early learning skill; it’s so critical for positive thinking. Being able to recharge and move forward, taking a negative experience in stride—well for my kids, I think it was a very powerful lesson.”
With the success of his Cows Can’t series, Dave has his sights on new future projects. “Right now, I have another picture book idea in the works, having nothing to do with cows! But my primary focus is on creating bilingual versions of the Cows Can’t books. All four titles are now available in paperback in Spanish/English editions. I’ve had such a positive response from multi-lingual readers that I’m now also creating bilingual editions in Portuguese, Creole, French, Chinese, and Tagalog (Filipino). I’m also working on creating additional word search, matching, and other activity sheets to help encourage interaction with the books in new and fun ways.”
We are excited to see what the future holds for Jumping Cow Press! To learn more about Dave and download free book resources and activity sheets, visit the Jumping Cow Press website. Grab your copies of the Cows Can’t series for your class or organization (in English and multiple bilingual versions) by visiting our website.
This post was written by Megan Habel, the Brand Strategist at BookPal. She is currently reading The Future is Faster Than You Think by Peter H. Diamandis & Steven Kotler.