Even Old MacDonald will applaud this edgy addition to the canon of books about mixed-up animal sounds.

MEOW SAID THE COW

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)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-545-31861-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow...

THE BOOK HOG

A porcine hoarder of books learns to read—and to share.

The Book Hog’s obsession is clear from the start. Short declarative sentences describe his enthusiasm (“The Book Hog loved books”), catalog the things he likes about the printed page, and eventually reveal his embarrassing secret (“He didn’t know how to read”). While the text is straightforward, plenty of amusing visual details will entertain young listeners. A picture of the Book Hog thumbing through a book while seated on the toilet should induce some giggles. The allusive name of a local bookshop (“Wilbur’s”) as well as the covers of a variety of familiar and much-loved books (including some of the author’s own) offer plenty to pore over. And the fact that the titles become legible only after our hero learns to read is a particularly nice touch. A combination of vignettes, single-page illustrations and double-page spreads that feature Pizzoli’s characteristic style—heavy black outlines, a limited palette of mostly salmon and mint green, and simple shapes—move the plot along briskly. Librarians will appreciate the positive portrayal of Miss Olive, an elephant who welcomes the Book Hog warmly to storytime, though it’s unlikely most will be able to match her superlative level of service.

There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow bibliophiles, and the author’s fans will enjoy making another anthropomorphic animal friend. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-03689-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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