SAY WHAT? by Angela DiTerlizzi


by , illustrated by
Age Range: 2 - 5


A small boy wonders and speculates what animals might mean by their traditional sounds.

The stylized animals shown using megaphones and paper-cup telephones on the cover reappear inside fully clothed, behaving in familiar human ways and using a wide variety of communications devices. A lion cub roars for more toys in the bathtub. A duckling quacks for a snack in front of an open refrigerator. A small snake hisses for a kiss from her mother. Simple rhyming couplets and a repeating chorus, “They say what they say / in their own silly way, / when they say what they say / with their sounds every day” carry the narrative, which concludes with the child’s “I do love you so!” to his mother. Full-bleed, double-page, digitally rendered illustrations in slightly muted retro colors use a flattened perspective to show a variety of parent/child interactions. These offer some imaginative activities, such as identifying cloud shapes and making hay angels, and include a range of settings. Perceptive observers will notice humorous details: a baby lamb with a pacifier, a bird birthday party with a cat piñata, an old-fashioned stand telephone in a booth.

For preschoolers who enjoy language play, this opens up whole new opportunities for communication. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: July 12th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4169-8694-2
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2011


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