Eclectic linocut animals are arranged into rhyming or sound-alike pairs.
Running beneath square-framed linoprints of animals, the bold, dynamically sized black and brown letters (also linoprinted) leap off the page, starting with a tiny mouse’s “Squeak” and an exuberant parrot’s imposing, askew “Squawk.” Small, neatly typed labels underneath mean the text can be read as commands (“Howl wolf”; “Growl bear”) or simply animal sounds. Pairings vary between rhyming (“Moo” and “Hooo”) or purely onomatopoeic combos (“ZZZZ” and “SSSS”). Created in a folk-art style, each linocut animal is a technical triumph. That parrot, with fuchsia head and golden beak aimed at the sky, with precise lines emanating outward, is the epitome of “Squawk.” However skillfully constructed though, some animals edge closer to creepy than cute. A lop-eyed cow and slack-jawed horse have jarring faces; a donkey in midkick looks vaguely menacing. Muddied color palettes add to the unease, as with the roaring lion with pointy white claws glinting against a blood red background. Some, such as the serene wolf or the goose soaring through meticulously shaded white clouds, hit the right balance of quirky yet accessible, but it’s an odd testament when a snake and a mosquito are among the friendliest-looking animals.
Infused with an unsettling energy, this might make for a raucous read-aloud with carefully chosen audiences. (Board book. 1-3)