A trickster cat causes mayhem in the barnyard.
Endpapers feature the monotone silhouette of a farm before dawn, and on the first spread of the story, readers see cat comfortably curled and sleeping. Not for long! Rooster throws back his head, and “Cock-a-doodle-doodle-doo!” tears across the barnyard. With that, the awakened, annoyed cat casts some spells. The next morning, rooster can only manage, “Squeak, squeak, squeak!” The cow meows, the sheep bark, the horse quacks and, most ridiculous of all, the mice moo. Dodd’s digital art captures the mounting chaos with varied perspectives and intense colors that sometimes resemble block-print ink or broad crayon strokes. Bold typography careens across the pages, conveying the noise, and rhyming text helps build the pace as the confused animals chase cat up a tree demanding their voices back. Cat relents: “With a flick of his tail, the spells were undone. / All, that is, except for one…” Turn the page, and there is one last surprise. The book demands to be read aloud so children can join in the cacophony—and with this book, they will learn the meaning of the word.
Even Old MacDonald will applaud this edgy addition to the canon of books about mixed-up animal sounds. (Picture book. 4-8)