The White Ravens Database

Presented by   Internationale Jugendbibliothek / International Youth Library

Spanish / Spain

Cuando las vacas flotan

(When the cows float)

Abadía, Ximo (text/illus.)
Barcelona: Takatuka, 2016. – [40] p.
ISBN 978-84-16003-54-9

Floating  | Freedom  | Picture book

Reading age: 5+

White Ravens issue: 2016


The story begins with a bright red fish being carried home in a bag by a girl. The next morning the world seems to have gone off the rails, because everything is floating. A neighbour named Rolando Rolán glides by with a wave; there is no milk at the store because the cows are pasturing in the sky; fishermen fish lightning bolts off the decks of ships that hang like clouds in the heavens. At home, too, quite a few things are topsy turvy, and finally the protagonist herself lifts off and floats away over unknown places. Even time seems to halt momentarily. The next morning everything is back to normal. The fish is released into the wild and allowed to float in the water again. Red and free. This wonderfully simple yet profound picture book by Ximo Abadía (b. 1983) shines in every respect. The double-sided illustrations consist almost entirely of colour swaths, soft, open and only hinting at shapes; they glow intensely. The lively, poetic text, too, drifts like a feather and carries one off as one reads.