A solid addition to the muddled-animal-sounds bookshelf.


From the Peep-and-See Book series

The titular cow’s not the only mixed-up animal.

When the cow says, “Meow,” the kid who hears it, a brown-skinned child with a perfectly round head and shock of straight, black hair, remarks, “What a copycat!” The cat on the next page has something to say about that. It’s not what readers might think. The cat says, “Neigh,” prompting the kid to note, “The cat sounds hoarse!” That makes the horse growl. The kid “can’t bear it,” which summons a bleating bear. Each observation by the increasingly frustrated youngster mentions, sometimes punnily, the big-eyed animal across the gutter. And the animal never says what the kid expects. The whole ball of confusion culminates with a pig saying “Hi!” And when the kid protests, “Pigs don’t say ‘hello’!” a young human (a kid with light-brown skin, freckles, and long, straight brown hair) on the next page brings the story full circle by saying, “Mooo.” This prompts the cow to ask, “Can I say meow again?” Children will giggle over the absurdly wrong sounds the animals make at each page turn as well as the kid’s growing exasperation; all dialogue is presented in speech bubbles. The front and back covers feature eyeholes that allow readers to peer out of the cow face on the front and the cat face on the back; the front endpapers feature animals making the incorrect sounds and the back endpapers have them speaking their own languages. Scott’s textured cartoon illustrations have the look of chalk to them, and their bright silliness is a good match for Call’s wordplay. With its brief text, limited vocabulary, and onomatopoeia, this is also friendly to emergent readers. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-13-inch double-page spreads viewed at 90.8% of actual size.)

A solid addition to the muddled-animal-sounds bookshelf. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-42334-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.


A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.


Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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