TURN LEFT AT THE COW for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

This Upper MG book is by Lisa Bullard, new to the MG world, but hardly new to being an author. She has a long list of successful picture books and non-fiction books for the K-4 audience. She  also has a few writing titles out for adults.

17165955First off – TURN LEFT AT THE COW – How can you not love the title? Written from 13-year-old Trav’s perspective, his opinion and views of the world would hit home with a 5-8th grade audience. This is a mystery at heart and a great one at that. I figured out the bad guy fairly early, but still the tension built throughout made this story soar.


FULL PLOT (From Amazon): Thirteen-year-old Trav has always wondered about his dead-before-he-was-born dad. But when he heads from California to his grandmother’s house in rural Minnesota, hoping to learn about his past, he gets more than he bargained for.
It turns out his dad was involved in a bank robbery right before he mysteriously disappeared, and the loot from the take is still missing. Along with Kenny and Iz, the kids next door, Trav embarks on a search for the cash. But the trio’s adventure quickly turns dangerous when it becomes clear that someone else is looking for the money—someone who won’t give up without a fight!


  1. The author’s words as she weaved in details of the Minnesota setting had me wanting to visit. Church basement gatherings, lakes galore, patriotic parades, and yes., live-bait vending machines makes the reader feel like they are there.
  2. Trav’s inner dialog is superb and you feel like you really know this kid. His sometimes mis-wired views are natural for an early teen. Just an all out great voice to spend time with.
  3. Any book that features several pages on chicken-poop-bingo is going to have many laughs popping up inside the mystery. The humor was never forced and always a surprise.
  4. The relationship with Trav and his grandmother was real – heartbreaking one moment and heartwarming the next.
  5. The tenderness of Trav’s understanding of his first romance, family dynamics, and forgiveness. All the plot lines were neatly sewn up and the ending was satisfying.


There were so many dead bodies stuffed into Gram’s freezer chest that it was kind of like wandering through a cryonics lab.

Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.


About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...writing middle grade novels.
This entry was posted in Reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to TURN LEFT AT THE COW for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

  1. warrchick says:

    It sounds like a fun story, but I’m also going to have to pick it up to read the Minnesota descriptions. It almost sounds like another world!
    Thanks for the recommend, and happy MMGM!

  2. Barbara Watson says:

    I’m live in Minnesota and MUST read this one!

  3. I agree that the title is fantastic! I hadn’t heard of this one, so thanks for sharing!

  4. Love the title, loved the book. Glad you are helping to get the word out. This book shouldn’t be missed.

  5. You’re right–the title’s spectacular. It sounds like a very appealing read.

  6. What a great title. And the story sounds good too.

  7. jennienzor says:

    You had me at the title! I hadn’t heard of this and I’m always on the look-out for funny books for boys. Thanks for the rec!

  8. The title caught my attention too! It sounds like a funny book.

  9. Pingback: Do Dads Get a Fair Look in MG Books? | Always in the Middle

  10. Pingback: A Year of Marvelous Middle Grade Monday! Are You Kidding? | Always in the Middle

  11. Pingback: Turn Left at the Cow | Book Discussion Guides

Place your thoughts here with a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.