The heavy-lidded cat with a cult following dons overalls for a trip to the farm.
There is absolutely nothing out of the ordinary about the text in this outing, verses unfurling spread by spread, one per animal. This feline Old MacDonald has some equally heavy-lidded chickens, dogs, cows, pigs, horses, (Siamese) cats, goats, ducks, turkeys, roosters, donkeys, sheep, frogs and geese, as well as a turtle that’s pictured in each scene. They all pretty much say the expected things, though preschoolers will be quick to call shenanigans when they hear that Pete-the-Cat MacDonald’s goats say “baa-baa” while the sheep say “maa-maa.” The “action,” such as it is, plays out on static, green-grassed, blue-skied backgrounds in which the occasional tractor or barn trades places with a red pickup. Aside from Pete and his turtle, the animals included in the spreads vary, sometimes accumulating and sometimes not; children who like to find patterns will be frustrated here. But the book’s biggest liability is its star’s practically comatose affect. Jacket copy and the character’s mythos tell readers that Pete’s “groovy,” but he just looks like he couldn’t care less. As the lyrics of “Old MacDonald” beg to be sung aloud with brio, Pete’s never-changing expression and the unwavering stolidity of the compositions make a hopeless mismatch.
“Old MacDonald” for narcoleptics. (Picture book. 3-5)