Cows Of Our Planet, by Gary Larson
This amusing little book only contains a little bit of information about the cows of our planet, the fanciful theme that the title would indicate. The cartoons related to that theme are in the middle of the book in a pull out section that includes a lot of very entertaining imaginary cow varieties, some of them lamentably labeled as extinct, that only Gary Larson or someone who thinks like him could imagine but that can be appreciated by all. And in general this book contains a great deal of humorous material, some of which is quite daringly topical in 1992, when the book was published. As there is a great deal that is both timeless and timely about Larson’s work, this was a fun book to read, and anyone who is a fan of the Far Side and hasn’t seen this book already would do well to check it out. And even if one has seen the book and its comics before, there is always the chance that the comedy included may hit differently this time and lead to even more laughs when reviewed again with the fondness of slight familiarity. You can certainly spend your time far less enjoyably than this, that’s for sure.
The contents of this book are straightforward. As noted earlier, the theme of this book is the cows of our planet, and several large pages are devoted to that theme in an entertaining way. Other than that, this book consists of one or two one-frame cartoons that frequently but do not always include animals as the heroes of the story. Frequently, as one might imagine, there is a great deal of interest that the author has in taking familiar situations and in seeing the unfamiliar in them, in pointing out the folly of scientists and politicians and other powerful people, and in presenting absurd situations that can be enjoyed simply because of their oddity and eccentricity. It is a shame that Gary Larson had retired for so long, but having these cartoons is a good way to appreciate and to cultivate a fondness for the odd and bizarre, because life is a lot easier to endure if we can see a strange and funny way to see other people and the situations of life. A great deal of life’s frustrations would be easier to cope with if we did not have to take them seriously or as a personal affront, and this book helps us to do so.