he Cow That Went Oink is dedicated "to persistence."
I love telling the history of this book. It was rejected 42 times until it was finally published in 1990. (I first submitted it in December 1966.) I had so many wonderful responses to the book over the years encouraging me to keep submitting it.
I sometimes read from rejection letters telling me how much they liked The Cow That Went Oink but could not publish it. One reason for rejection: my original dummy was in full color, and full-color books were too expensive to produce (especially for an unknown author).
In 1977, I made a new version in three colors after a publisher said they were interested in publishing it, but they eventually changed their minds (because they were cutting back on their children's book list).
In late 1988, I met with my new editor at Harcourt, Diane D'Andrade, who had signed up The Littlest Dinosaur earlier that year. She wanted to see some new ideas, and at the last minute I decided to bring along both versions of The Cow That Went Oink. I also shared its rejection history with her. (Harcourt had rejected it in 1968 and 1977). She laughed when she read it and took it back with her to the editorial offices in San Diego. The following week she called and said that everyone was "moo-ing" and "oink-ing," and they loved The Cow That Went Oink." They would publish it!
It was a labor of love working on the final version, which was much improved over the earlier versions because I had learned so much about making books. I've had so many "English as a Second Language" teachers tell me how much they and their students enjoy reading it.
The Cow That Went Oink has also been published in a big book edition, a Book-Of-The-Month Club edition, a Spanish language edition, as well as a Scholastic Book Club edition including a companion audio tape that I had the pleasure of narrating.
I've had so many memorable comments about The Cow That Went Oink. I was a guest speaker at the North Carolina International Reading Association in 1998. My presentation was about my favorite subject, Persistence, and as usual, I ended my talk with The Cow That Went Oink and my rejection list showing 42 rejections.
After my presentation, I was signing books for teachers. One teacher, who was surprised to hear about my rejections, told me about a public TV commercial promoting reading that showed the Governor of North Carolina reading to children. He was reading the big book version of The Cow That Went Oink.
Persistence pays off!
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