Monday, February 18, 2013

Tim Rowland's Creature Features

Animal, vegetable, or mineral?  In this case, it's animal, animal, and animal.

Tim Rowland has written for magazines and news syndicates nationwide, and is an award-winning columnist at the Herald-Mail Media in Hagerstown, Maryland, a newspaper that serves cities in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Tim Rowland's Creature Features is a collection of over 75 of his animal essays dated from 2008 through 2012, originally published in the newspaper.  Dedicated to the very animals he writes about, these essays focus on a variety of animals, pets owned by Tim and his wife, Beth, and the many farm animals the couple add to their menagerie.  We meet numerous animals, many with ridiculously cute names, such as the belted cows Cleopatra and Heifertiti, goats Hillary and Horsefly, Chuckles the rooster, Juliet the Siamese cat, Beth's beloved bulldog, Hannah, Opie the Bouvier des Flandres, and other creatures including donkeys, pigs, horses, chickens, geese, and turkeys (who assault Clorox Bleach bottles).

Ha, ha, ha....

No, I'm not laughing at my own jokes, I'm thinking about the hilarious writing in this book.  I could just tell you this book is funny, that I laughed out loud countless times while reading Creature Features.  While I don't live in "The Show Me State" (Missouri, for those of you who are interested), showing you what I mean is probably a better idea, so I've chosen some examples to share with you.  I've only included a few "funny lines" (because I don't want to get in trouble), but these will give you a taste of the humor prevalent in these animal stories.  Without further ado, here are some "funny lines" from the book:

Essence of bovinity something to chew on
April 27, 2009 

"I happen to have two cows at the moment, Cleopatra and Heifertiti, whose genetic makeup would likely show that they evolved from the Marx Brothers."

Pants on the trees keep water in the trough
August 3, 2009

"Cappy did her best to wave it off, but the moment was clearly awkward.  When a horse feels embarrassed for you, something's seriously amiss."

Pigs have to be hogtied for photo session
May 4, 2011

"I don't know how many marriages break up over swine photography, but if a couple can make it through a session of pig picture-taking, as required by national registries, they are on solid footing indeed."

What do you think?  These are darn funny, if you ask me. They cracked me up.  The humor starts with the names of the stories (previously columns), and continues throughout them.  Like Tim and Beth, I like animals a great deal, but their antics can be quite funny, especially when recounted by a talented storyteller.  In one of the stories, Tim mentions a word he heard used by a judge to describe a dairy goat at an agricultural fair, 'overconditioned', a euphemism for the word 'fat'.  This story immediately brought to mind a photo I took of a cow in jeans by artist Jean Wells Hamerslag, from my cow blog (yes, I have a cow blog), La Vache Intéressante, to which I added a caption.

Do these pants make me look overconditioned?

Because of Tim's dog, Opie, I became interested in the dog breed Bouvier des Flandres.  I found this adorable picture and a good description on--where else?--Wikipedia.  Ronald Reagan's dog, Lucky, was a Bouvier des Flandres. And although Tim says that Opie is a bit too happy and spirited, this breed sounds wonderful to me; they are described as gentle yet protective dogs on Wikipedia.

Bouvier des Flandres, courtesy of Wikipedia

As mentioned before, I like animals, but I worried that it might get monotonous to read story after story about them.  To my amazement, though, I didn't get tired of reading all of these stories about them, because the various animals came to life, and their personalities and antics kept me entertained.  I read one story after the next over the course of a couple of days, and was sorry when the book ended.  In case you couldn't tell (or just skipped to this part of my review), I enjoyed Tim Rowland's Creature Features very much.  Infused with humor, it's a pleasure to read about the animals at the "Little Farm by the Creek".  I'd like to also read Tim Rowland's earlier book, All Pets are Off, as well as his newspaper columns.

Thanks to Teddy from Premier Virtual Authors Book Tours for sending me a complimentary copy of Tim Rowland's Creature Features.  For other reviews of this book, and a few giveaways for it, please visit the other stops on this book tour.

Your comments are welcomed.

Update, March 12:  All Pets are Off is now available for the Kindle. 


  1. I love animals too and that book sounds delightful. I love the cover!

  2. Hi Suko, I tried to comment before, but Blogger ate it.
    The book sounds too cute and like a funny read. I knew you had another blog, but I didn't know it was cow themed. I collect roosters's just something about them that always drew my attention.
    Great post! Glad you enjoyed this one, and that cover made me smile.

    1. Naida, I don't know what's going on with Blogger! Thanks very much for leaving a second comment.

  3. Like Kathy, I think the cover is great. The book sounds really fun as well!

  4. Thanks so much for taking part in the tour. I'm glad you enjoyed Creature Features so much! I love your cow in pants photo! It's a hoot!

    1. Teddy, it's been a pleasure to be part of the tour for this book. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I'd love to read that makes me laugh out loud right now. Seems like a good one.

  6. Oh, I loved this book. I know I will be reading it again, and that is saying a lot from me, because I seldom re-read books. Thanks for your visit to my Tuesday Teasers post today.

  7. Hi Suko- I have been reading some of your posts.

    Your blog is awesome!

    This sounds like a really good book. I love animals and like stories about them. As you point out this also sounds really funny.

    1. Thank you, Brian! I wasn't familiar with Tim Rowland's work before I read this book, but now I feel as if I'd recognize his style--and I'm definitely a fan!

  8. Sounds like a must-have reader for all us animal lovers, thanks for recommending it.

    Not a bread I'd heard of, the Bouvier des Flandres is a rather strange looking dog, a bit like a poodle crossed with a funny looking sheep.

  9. Sounds like a cute book. Love the cover!

  10. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed this one so much! It does sound quite enjoyable :)

  11. He is so cute and malicious on the cover ! Reading and laughing : what a great pleasure !

  12. This book sounds like it's just up my alley. Thanks for sharing with us.

  13. Sounds like a great read.

    THANKS for sharing.

    Stopping by from Carole's Books You Loved December/January Edition. I am in the list as #33. My book entry is below.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Book Entry

    BTW…Stop by for a FUN giveaway titled: Guess The Baby: Giveaway

    Giveaway ends on December 8.


Your comments make this site lively! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I value each one, and will respond to questions.

If you're entering a giveaway, please leave your e-mail address (or a link that leads to it).

Some of the books featured here were given to me free of charge by authors, publishers, and agents. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


Blog header by Held Design

Powered By Blogger