By a bubbling creek in the jungle, Mouse squeaks out a musical beat. Who else wants to join in?
A little bird asks to tweet along, and a centipede begins thumping out a rhythm with his feet. One by one, other animals want to add their own hip sounds to the toe-tapping jingle. The warthog offers to bang "on his belly like a big bass drum." The grinning crocodile uses a bone to play his teeth like a xylophone. The jubilant song builds and repeats as the gathering grows, encouraging readers to join in on the chorus: "Tip-tap-a-tippy-tappy, / Tweet-tweet-tweet. / Squeak, squeak, bubble, bubble, / squeak, squeak, SQUEAK!" With vibrant close-ups of the animals' faces, the colorful pages burst with the excitement of jamming with friends. Even with simple dots or lines for eyes, every animal exudes its own personality, from the sniffing mouse to the monkey with rubbery arms. Smallman, wielding the rhythmic words like a conductor’s baton, stops the cumulative syncopation cold when the previously unseen Hippopotamus takes credit for their catchy song. The musicians are incredulous, but readers who note the title of the story and the “bubble, bubble” in the refrain may have a clue.
Though there’s not much to the story, the energetic wordplay coupled with cheery images makes this an easy crowd-pleaser. (Picture book. 3-7)