Book:Where's My Cow?

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Where's My Cow?
Where's My Cow?
Illustrator(s) Melvyn Grant
Publisher Doubleday
Publication date 2005
ISBN 038560937X
Pages 32
RRP £10.99
Main characters Samuel Vimes
Young Sam
Lady Sybil Ramkin
Series Children's books
Annotations View
Notes Book #36
All data relates to the first UK edition.

This article refers both to the fictional book Where's My Cow?, that Samuel Vimes reads to his son in Thud!, and to the illustrated novel.


This is a book about reading a book, which turns into a different book. But it all ends happily!


Every day at 6:00pm sharp Sam Vimes reads the book "Where's My Cow?" to Young Sam. But one day Vimes decides that it makes no sense to read about animals which Young Sam will never see alive. Therefore, he changes the story of the book a little to be more interesting for someone living in Ankh-Morpork.

About the fictional book

In Thud!, this is the very favourite bed-time reading for Young Sam Vimes - the chew-marks on the cover are an endorsement of its all-time-favourite status. Young Sam must never be without his father at six in the evening for his night-time ritual. This is the thing that keeps Samuel Vimes straight and reminds him that he is more than just a policeman. The six o'clock ritual is something he never misses, and it ingrains such a habit in him that he will do positively insane things to be home and up in the nursery at six o'clock, every evening, without fail. This becomes an integral plot-device of Thud!: the deeply ingrained, almost magical, habit of sanity and normal fatherhood presents the very last insurmountable barrier that not even the Summoning Dark can break.

The book has been in print long enough for a copy to reach The Chalk. At the end of Wintersmith,Rob Anybody demonstrates his new reading skills by reading from it. It is recent enough to have been reviewed favourably in the Ankh-Morpork Times by its renowned literary critic, Tuppence Swivel.

About the book

A spin-off from Thud!, this is a book ostensibly aimed at very young children.
Where's My Cow? is an illustrated novel. However, it is not comparable to previous illustrated novels such as Eric and The Last Hero, because its appearance is that of a children's book. It is intentional and suits the story that some of the drawings could have been taken right out of a book for two-year-olds. There is very little text in the book which has only 14 pages. Nevertheless, this great book shows Commander Vimes in a totally different light than the Watch Books and is therefore a "must have".

Ostensibly about the trials and tribulations of a farmer seeking for his lost cow, and written in language suitable for very young people, bound in green and purple covers capable of withstanding the most determined chewing, the older reader may develop a suspicion that there is a deeper level to this book.

Terry Pratchett's text and the artwork of Melvin Grant combine to present a different sort of Discworld, with many of the familiar characters re-imagined through Grant's lovely artwork.

Go on, you know you want to buy it, if only to complete your Pratchett collection. See how many of the characters you can recognise in the artwork without prompting or needing to consult the Wiki...


Main characters


Keen eyed readers should also look carefully at the portrait in Young Sam's room.

Release information

  • Originally published in the Year of Three Horses by Rouster & Sideways, 33b Gleam Street, Ankh-Morpork (please use rear staircase; closed on Fridays)
  • This edition published by Doubleday
  • Text copyright (c) by Terry and Lyn Pratchett 2005; Illustrations copyright (c) Melvyn Grant 2005


Yes, it even sustains these:

Where's my daddy?
Is that my daddy?
It goes "I fink, derefore I am. I fink".
It is Sergeant Detritus the troll!

On the Moody Blues' 1969 LP On The Threshold of a Dream, the very first spoken words are those of flute player and singer Ray Thomas, who is going through a similar sort of existential angst:

"I am, I think I am. Therefore I must be. (pause, then uncertainly) I think..."

And both, of course, are riffs on René Descartes' pithy aphorism concerning the primacy of thought and personal identity. (But what else would a troll resonate to apart from rock music...)

Also, it has been pointed out that the book can be sung, almost word for word, to the tune of the Queen hit, Don't Stop Me now. This is oddly appropriate, given that the book is a journey and on a journey, all music eventually mutates into a "best of Queen" compilation. For a take on this, see here[1]'.



Drawn in the style of a children's picture book, this is an opportunity to use an illustrator other than the great Kidby, and to explore familiar Discworld characters in a different style.

Melvyn Grant takes over the artwork for this book, and his conception of Sam Vimes appears to be very much in keeping with Terry Pratchett's stated perception of the character as "looking like a young Pete Postlethwaite".

External links