Hamish The Highland Cow is a childrens book by Natalie Russell. My daughter has had it in her book collection for a year or so. It was originally published by Bloomsbury Children's Books in 2004.
The book is a large size and has 32 pages which is I think is enough to hold a solid story, but not too long. It is a paperback book, with a wipe-clean cover.
The story tells of a Highland Cow called Hamish. It's spring time and all the animals are busy preening their spring coats, except for one animal - Hamish. Hamish hates having baths, never grooms his long tangly coat and NEVER cuts his hair. Hamish's hair is so long that he can't see through it, it's so knotty and tangly that things live in it and so sticky with toffee that everything sticks to it! Hamish's favourite treat is toffee and the perfect place for him to keep his toffee is in his long tangly coat! Eventually Hamish's friends have enough of his long stinking dirty hair and encourage him to get a haircut. Hamish refuses at first but then reluctantly agrees when the talk of a 'surprise' comes up (Hamish thinks it might be toffee). The next morning Hamish makes a trip to the hairdressers and can't believe all the different cool haircuts that he sees! There are lots of fun things at the hairdressers - books to read, smelly things to play with, things to spray, a chair that goes up down and round. When it's time for Hamish to get his hair cut, he is a bit nervous and asks for a trim. The hairdresser snippety-snips and clippety-clips Hamish's long tangly coat and eventually passes him the mirror. Hamish is surprised that it didn't hurt and is very pleased with his new look ("GROOVY!"). The hairdresser gives Hamish lots of toffees for being so brave.. but Hamish has nowhere to put them now! His friends pop up and surprise him with a special bag to put all of his yummy toffees inside. The story ends with this line...
"Now you're the coolest cow in the Highlands!" Said the animals, giving Hamish a huge hug.
"Don't mess up my hair!" Said a very smart and sweet-smelling Hamish.
The illustrations are really lovely. They're fun, bright, colourful and bold. I like how the illustrations look really authentically hand drawn, it gives them a lot of character. Most of the illustrations are spread over two pages. My daughter seems to particularly enjoy seeing all the toffees and creepy crawlies in Hamish's coat and seeing all of Hamish's adventures when he visits the hairdressers.
The story is not only fun, but it has a good message. My daughter has never really had any issues with going to the hairdressers but I can imagine this would be a very beneficial book for children who refuse to make a trip to the hairdressers! It makes the hairdressers seem like a very fun place to be! It also shows that being clean, tidy and trying new things can really pay off - not only did Hamish think he looked very nice after his trip to the hairdressers (and he also enjoyed his time at the hairdressers) but his friends were so proud that they surprised him with a lovely gift. Very encouraging stuff indeed! The story always captures my daughters attention and she never gets bored of hearing it. The text is quite large which is handy for both children and adults. The text isn't rhyming or repetitive, but there are a lot of smaller words which are perfect for reading beginners. I think this book would most appeal to children 2-6 years old.
This book is available at many book stores and is currently selling on Amazon for £4.49. The RRP according to the back of the book is £4.99. Good value for money in my opinion!
The other animals, tired of Hamish's smelly, matted hair, take him to get his first haircut, but he worries that anything more than a wee trim will mean he can no longer store his favorite toffee treats in his coat.