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Ida Mlakar Črnič

The Cow That Barked at the Moon

O kravi, ki je lajala v luno

Director Brina Klampfer Merčnik

Music performance for children 5+
World premiere 
Stage adaption Ana Duša
Opening October 2024


Ida Mlakar Črnič, the author of The Cow That Barked at the Moon (Miš, 2015), a witty witty and melancholic tale, is a storyteller, librarian and young adults author. From 1995 until her retirement in 2021 she worked in the field of bibliopedagogy at the Ljubljana City Library – Pionirska, Centre for Youth Literature and Librarianship. She has authored many articles for periodicals and magazines, Za starše, Cicido and Ciciban. In her stories for children and young adults her main focus is relationships and emotions. Her style is lyrical, her storytelling is perceptive, which is one of the reasons why her books have been awarded many prizes. The Cow That Barked at the Moon won the 2016 Kristina Brenkova Original Slovenian Picture Book Award, the Golden Pear Label, and was included in the 2016 White Ravens list.
The tale beings with a cow, Mrvica, who stopped giving milk and has been seen snarling and barking at the Moon. Her owner calls the vet who examines her and prescribes rest and recreation at the seaside. But as the farmer believes that her unusual behaviour is not normal, the vet promises to pick her up the next day and examine her in his surgery. All the farm animals start gossiping behind her back, only Viktor the dog is standing by her side. He tells her to get hold of a bicycle and leave for the seaside immediately. Which she does. In the evening, she gets on her bike and leaves. She travels very far, into the dark, and falls asleep from exhaustion in an old decrepit house. Awakened by the clopping of hooves, she realises that she is not alone there. A knackered horse, Van de Hijo, lives there, tap-dancing with his hooves to a strange rhythm. They decide to go to the seaside together and take up performing as street artists  ̶  a dancing horse and a singing cow double act. The course of events in the darkness of the night instils hope, a will to live and optimism. In the end, the happy street artists are watching the sunset from the seashore. The message is clear and simple: believe in your dreams and you will succeed (for the young); you are never too old to dream and make new beginnings (for the old). 
The tale of the wacky cow and the dapper horse explores the theme of old age and ageing. Mrvica and Van de Hijo strongly resist being perceived old and knackered. They take their destiny into their hands and prove that whatever their age, their lives are inspiring, exciting, satisfying and happy.

“Ida Mlakar's story that won the 2016 Kristina Brenkova Original Slovenian Picture Book Award, first caught my eye with its unusual title and zany illustrations by Peter Škerl when I spotted it on a bookshelf. It was one of the first books I picked up for my first-born, then barely a year old. My daughter, who started talking very early, asked me several tricky questions after the first reading: what does it mean to go under the knife? ('Daddy, you are old too, will you have to go under the knife?'). What does it mean that a cow does not give milk, and why? And why does she have to go to seaside ... I had to take a deep breath and start looking for answers and ways to talk to a toddler about life’s big issues. I realised it was this very book that introduced me to the world of responsible parenting, a world where adulation and sweet talk are replaced by a responsible chat with your child. In the production, we will therefore playfully explore the principle of failing, of being a flaw, a flop, of being strange. Mistakes and failed attempts are part of the road one must travel if one wishes to succeed.” 
                                                                                        Brina Klampfer Merčnik, director