Ziefert and Fatus explore and interpret familiar animal sounds.
Squarely in the growing genre of bilevel informational picture books, it combines simple text overlaid on the humorous collage-style illustrations with more advanced marginal notes intended to appeal to older children who want in-depth information. The very young can simply enjoy the colorful spreads with their simple rhymes: “Horses neigh. Donkeys bray. Mice squeak. Eek! Eek!" and older kids can satisfy their natural curiosity with the relatively complex marginal text. A wide range of animals from barnyard to jungle is illustrated, from cows through owls, whales, monkeys, sheep, lions, pigs, deer, geese, horses, and snakes. And be ready for surprises….How many readers knew that moose honk, just like geese? The marginal notes encourage readers to analyze the motive behind animal language, to make comparisons with human speech, and to think about animal and human body language and habits. Readers learn that snakes only make a sound when they're angry, so the author asks them to think about noises they make when they're angry and whether the angry sound is louder than a happy sound. This could spark an interesting discussion among preschoolers about the meaning of animal language and how thoughts, feelings, and desires are conveyed through speech, whether animal or human.
Attractive, unusual, and unexpectedly informative. (Informational picture book. 2-6)