Cleary expands his language arts books with this look at onomatopoeia.
Mrs. Garcia’s class is ready and eager for the day: butterfly nets, cameras, notebooks, magnifying glasses, and headwear that includes both deerstalker caps and pith helmets. “One day every year, the students go out on a hunt— / a favorite exercise of Mrs. Garcia— / to search the grounds and school / for something interesting and cool: / it’s what is known as onomatopoeia.” This abccb pattern makes for a tough read-aloud, as the meter and rhythm are off. But Cleary certainly gets points for enthusiasm and establishes himself as a credible contender for the record for most onomatopoeic words in one picture book. Set off in all-caps and a colored display type, each “SNAP,” “CLANG,” “FLUTTER,” and “WHIRR” stands out. The kids, a highly diverse group (two different brown-skinned girls depicted wear the hijab), go through and around the school visiting all the different classrooms and areas and collecting sounds—the gym, the science lab, the farm next door, the music room, even the bathroom (“FLUSH,” “TINKLE!”). But the exuberant book ends on a rather abrupt, even dampening note when the principal, certain the students who are sharing their words so loudly and enthusiastically are misbehaving, gives them one final one for their collection: “SHOOSH!” Pino’s pencil and Photoshop illustration are bright, detailed, and busy. Readers will find lots to pore over.
Sure to cause a BUZZ in classes, provided the teacher can get through reading it aloud. (Picture book. 5-8)