Aardvark sings a surprise song for their buddy, Mouse.
Hands on their hips in what may well be an attempt to assume the power stance, Aardvark begins with a statement: “I think I can.” On the next page, quizzical Mouse—arms crossed and one eyebrow raised—repeats the phrase as a question: “You think you can?” The two volley similar sentences back and forth in this repetitive pattern. After a few rounds, Aardvark reveals that what they think they can do is sing. Then Aardvark builds anticipation for their song by declaring it a surprise. From that point, the formula more or less flips, and Aardvark fields Mouse’s questions (“Do I have to hide my eyes?”), posed on recto, in the negative after the page turn (“No. You must look at me”). The dialogue is color-coded (blue for Aardvark, black for Mouse) so that the speakers are clearly differentiated. The difference in height between the two animals and, thus, above-head text placement creates additional visual matching. The small word count (just over 50 words and their variants) and short sentences build in further supports for emerging readers. Set against a white background, Brunson’s cartoony characters appear in the same position from page to page and vary only in expression. An opening note suggests that the book be read by a pair of readers who each take on a character’s lines and share the reading experience.
A well-structured and deceptively simple dose of encouragement for emerging readers. (Early reader. 5-7)