About the author: Walter Wangerin Jr.
I thought The Book of the Dunn Cow was a children’s book, it is not. I wouldn’t recommend the book for children. I think it may be acceptable for teenagers, but with caution. There are a series of adult rated events and it includes vivid violence. There are no humans in the story, animals only. The book is written well, excellent storyline, and character development. In the afterward, Wangerin assures the reader that his story is not an allegory. It is a “beast fable;” Wangerin was inspired by several sources, but the story is completely original. This is the first book of a three book series.
This world is different than the one we know. It is filled with talking animals. The animals live on the surface of the earth and one creature lives within. The evil creature is named “Wyrm,” a massive dreadful serpent; “He was angry. And he hated, with an abiding hatred, the God who had locked him within the earth. And what put the edge upon his hatred, what made it an everlasting acid inside of him, was the knowledge that God had given the key his prison in this bottomless pit to a pack of chattering animals.” (p. 23-24) The animals are the keepers and there are only a few which maintain a lord/leadership status. Chauntecleer the rooster, one of the main characters (lord) and heroes of the story, knew nothing about Wyrm. No animal had knowledge of Wyrm.