Warning: This book will make children want to play the telephone game all day long.
“I have a secret,” the pig says. He leans in close, so the chicken can hear him. “Oink,” he whispers. “Pass it on.” Alert readers will already see where this is going. Fifteen pages later, the message is much longer. “Are you sure you’re ready?” the cat asks the dog. The cat, looking just a tiny bit panicked, says, “Hee-haw-oink-baa-quack-caw-ribbit-hiss-neigh-meow-moo-hoo-squeak. Pass it on.” This is a book to read more than once. That’s not because it’s difficult to follow, but readers might miss details like the tiny sound effects of the animals’ feet the first couple of times through. The chicken goes flit flit. The cow goes galump galump. And on the last few pages of the book, when everything has gone horribly awry, the pig has a wonderful look of delight on his face. Czekaj has drawn him with just a hint of mischief in his eyes. “Don’t worry…” he says…“we’ll just start over.” A biographical note says that the author “is a cartoonist, children’s book author and illustrator, and underground DJ.” It makes him sound a little subversive. His animals have just as much personality.
Get ready for many, ever-sillier rereadings. (Picture book. 3-6)