The Book of the Dun Cow

This is not a review for our periodic book reviews for a publishing company on our blog. Every once in a while, when I read something really fantastic, I just want to share it with people, and though it may feel like this happens often, I think the last time was Blue Like Jazz. But "The Book of the Dun Cow" will also be added to our recommended reading list.
"The Book of the Dun Cow" was published in the late seventies by Walter Wangerin, Jr, whom some people may know from "The Ragman" fame. I had been hearing more about this guy, especially from The Rabbit Room, and finally picked up Dun Cow from the library.
One reviewer described it as a cross between Lord of the Rings and Animal Farm. The Animal Farm part is easy, because it has talking animals. Done. But despite the lack of wizards, elves, dwarves, magic objects, or scenery more spectacular than a chicken coop and a river, it definitely is reminiscent of Tolkien.
Why? Because of the nobility of its themes, I think. And because, for all their mighty deeds in the end, the greatest strength the characters have, in their struggle against evil, is a plain life full of ordinary goodness.
I have gone back and forth as to whether the nobility of the story is increased or degraded by the fact that the main hero is a chicken. (Or rather a lordly Rooster, who would never let himself be called a mere chicken, but nevertheless...) In the end, the nobility may be unchanged, but it is certainly more memorable for this distinction.
Virtue, strength, leadership, sorrow, and a dog with a giant nose who can run like the wind. But don't take my word for it!