Book Review: Raspberry Sassafras

Raspberry Sassafras 2
  • Book Style: Storybook for kids
  • Reading Level: 2 (Reading With Help due to mid-range length and some difficult vocabulary)
  • Reading Length: 8-10 minutes (FYI – we never account for toddler questions)
  • Illustration: Simple and cute
  • Age Target: 2-8 Years of Age
  • Author: Allison Holland
  • Author’s Page: Allison Holland
  • Book Purchase Page: Lulu – $13.59 USD today, $15.99 USD regular price
  • Social Media Links: N/A

The Story

Raspberry Sassafras is a children‘s story about Jane and her cow named Raspberry Sassafras.  While I don’t know where that crazy name came from, I do know that Raspberry was a farm cow at one point. Jane and her family traveled to a farm one day to get a dog.  Fortunately for everyone involved, Jane picked a big brown and white “puppy” instead.  That “puppy” was Raspberry the cow, and Jane and Raspberry become the best of friends.

After bring Raspberry home, our author (Allison Holland) shows us the great life Jane shares with her in the big city.  We also learn a number of things about cows, including two big secrets: cows can fly and talk!

Raspberry Sassafras

Best of friends!

One of the best things about this book is how fun, light, and happy the story is.  It’s a little longer than the usual children’s book, but it never drags on because of how well written it is.  Our author has also made sure that the characters are always engaged in a fun activity.  And just about every ones of these activities they do, your kids probably also love doing.  From eating ice cream, noodles, and potato chips (and flowers) to snuggling up in a cozy bed, there’s nothing here that a young child won’t relate to.

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The best thing about this story is the surprise ending. The story appears to be a normal (incredibly cute) story about a girl and her pet cow.  That is, until Raspberry decides to start flying and talking! My little guy immediately asked if cows could fly, and I had a great time playing into what the story was showing him. I won’t ruin all of the story, but suffice it to say that I laughed, my toddler laughed, and I know he’s still wondering whether or not cows are flying around his grandpa’s field. I love it when an author plays with the story line, and I think Allison has done an excellent job with Raspberry Sassafras.

Raspberry Sassafras 2

If you read the book, you’ll understand this illustration!

The Illustrations

When I described the illustrations above, I called them simple and cute. That’s exactly what they are, but in their simplicity, I don’t feel like the illustrations are missing anything.  In fact, I feel like there’s a level of genius in what Allison Holland has done here. See, it’s an intentional choice to bring your child‘s attention to the important things on the page. It’s also an intentional choice to let the characters shine through. In Raspberry Sassafras, your child won’t spend time looking at intricate flowers, but instead will look at Jane’s expression as Raspberry flies through the air.

What I really love about this is that it creates understanding in kids.  As they listen to the words in the story, they can connect that with the pictures they’re seeing in the book.  It also makes it easy for them to connect words to the pictures, and that can boost reading comprehension.  If you’re a teacher, you know just how important this is.

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The Verdict

This is nothing missing from a great storybook that kicks off a fantastic series of children’s books.  What’s more, it’s built by an author who loves creating these stories..  There is nothing not to like, and just a ton to love.  My little guy loved this book and he was excited when I told him there were more books about Raspberry.  At the price of $13.59 USD (on sale, FYI), there’s no reason to hold back.  Head on over to and purchase your copy of Raspberry Sassafras.

Keep reading…with your children!

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