A new take on the old song highlights the role of vowels in the English language.
“Old MacDonald had her farm, / a e i o u. / And when she came across an a, / this is what she’d do: / Saw barn planks, stack sacks….” Youngsters will never mistake this for the familiar song, especially when they attempt to read the tongue-twisting, nearly nonsense text aloud. Lawson’s giddily flowing style just doesn’t adapt well to this grammar lesson. The garish computer-generated art complements the silly tone by showing Old MacDonald fiddling with a Rube Goldberg–type contraption for sawing and stacking on the “a” page and continuing her over-the-top farm chores on the succeeding ones. There is really no story here, just a jumble of words that demonstrate the various sounds that each vowel can make. However, readers and listeners will enjoy following the action on each page right until the end, when Mr. and Mrs. MacDonald seem to settle down into a rowdy song with all their animals singing along. Teachers might find this helpful when working on vowels, and children will enjoy making lists of words that rhyme with the words in the story. No one will mistake this for anything other than a school exercise.
High-energy ride to nowhere. (Picture book. 5-8)