Prancing, Dancing Lily

Illustrator: John Manders

Dial Books for Young Readers

The Story Behind the Story

lilycowsI grew up on a farm surrounded by cows and calves. My daughter, Amy, is a dancer. Is it any surprise I wrote a story about a dancing cow? I never saw a dancing cow in our pasture, but I often helped my father call the cows in for milking. He sounded a lot like Farmer Gibson calling Rose, Lily, and the rest of the herd. "Come on in Rose. Milking Time!"


Growing up around the farm, I learned quite a bit about cows and dairying. When I was a teen, I was selected as a Kansas Dairy Princess. I didn't realize knowing about cows could get you a crown, but it did.

My father, Eugene Willard Krehbiel, grew up in a family of Mennonite farmers. When he was a boy, his dream was to have a registered Ayrshire herd. Ayrshires are not a well-known breed, but Prince Charles of England thinks they are a tough and beautiful breed just as my father did. Prince Charles keeps a 180 cow herd on his Duchy Home Farm. Here's a photo of his beautiful Ayrshires; you can read more here.

If you'd like, you can read about my father's Ayrshire dream in his own words.

Lily fans may be surprised to learn that in the original story version, Lily did not end up as a Conga cow. I have such fun "drumming" with students at author visits; I can't imagine Lily as anything else now! 

Spunky, fun-loving Lily always brings out the creativity and joy in teachers, librarians, parents, and students. Here are a few ways Lily and I have been greeted at school visits:





This book is dedicated to my father, his Ayrshire dream, and all the cows at Highland Ayr dairy farm.

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