A HOOPOE SAYS OOP! by Jamie Kiffel-Alcheh


Animals of Israel
by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 1 - 4
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Any author can find a rhyme for “cow” or “moo.”

By the time they start school, most kids have read dozens of books about farm animals, but they may not have seen an ibex or a hyrax or a hoopoe. This board book would make an excellent compendium for children who want to be zoologists, but it creates a huge challenge for the author: Almost nothing rhymes with “ibex.” She goes out of her way to work around the problem: “Ibexes on crater ledges / Call out ‘Maa!’ and walk the edges.” Every couplet is awkward, but every new animal is surprising, and Kuman finds unexpected ways of painting them. Her bats are shaped like Chinese dumplings, and her camels are an unexpected assortment of geometric objects: a mountain peak perched atop a tiny rectangle underneath a slightly lopsided eggplant. The book also provides a variety of sound effects. The last two pages are crammed with “chirrup”s and “urr”s and “oop”s. It feels as though an entire encyclopedia of animals—a very odd one—has been squeezed into 12 pages. The book also gives kids an incentive to travel. The cover copy says, “Meet some of Israel’s unique animals.”

The forced rhymes will be too painful for some readers, but very patient children will find it hilarious and surreal and a little startling, and they’ll learn years’ worth of animal facts before they reach kindergarten. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-5415-0049-5
Page count: 12pp
Publisher: Kar-Ben
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2019


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