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

COW SAYS MEOW

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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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.

ANIMAL SHAPES

You think you know shapes? Animals? Blend them together, and you might see them both a little differently!

What a mischievous twist on a concept book! With wordplay and a few groan-inducing puns, Neal creates connections among animals and shapes that are both unexpected and so seemingly obvious that readers might wonder why they didn’t see them all along. Of course, a “lazy turtle” meeting an oval would create the side-splitting combo of a “SLOW-VAL.” A dramatic page turn transforms a deeply saturated, clean-lined green oval by superimposing a head and turtle shell atop, with watery blue ripples completing the illusion. Minimal backgrounds and sketchy, impressionistic detailing keep the focus right on the zany animals. Beginning with simple shapes, the geometric forms become more complicated as the book advances, taking readers from a “soaring bird” that meets a triangle to become a “FLY-ANGLE” to a “sleepy lion” nonagon “YAWN-AGON.” Its companion text, Animal Colors, delves into color theory, this time creating entirely hybrid animals, such as the “GREEN WHION” with maned head and whale’s tail made from a “blue whale and a yellow lion.” It’s a compelling way to visualize color mixing, and like Animal Shapes, it’s got verve. Who doesn’t want to shout out that a yellow kangaroo/green moose blend is a “CHARTREUSE KANGAMOOSE”?

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0534-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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