Sunday, April 05, 2009

No More Moo: Boo-Hoo Moo by Margie Palatini

Margie Palatini's 2007 hit Moo Who? told the funny, punny tale of Hilda MacHeifer, who, struck by a cow pie, suffers temporary amnesia and a pro tem inability to use her proper voice. Her identity crisis results in a hilarious census of her fellow farm animals as she searches for who and what she truly is. At last convinced that she is indeed a cow ("You're no swine. You're bovine."), Hilda finally finds her inner moo and expresses it all too vocally, to the pained but patient and earplugged barnyard audience.

Never one to miss a singular chance for a sequel, Palatini has just published a companion book, Boo-Hoo Moo, in which Hilda MacHeifer has a bit of the blues:

Hilda MacHeifer was down in the dumps.

Feeling low, sounding like it, too.

Even her moo was low. "Mi-mi-moo. Boo-hoo-moo!"

And with a voice as annoying as Hilda's, it's not just MacHeifer who has the miseries. All her barnyard friends are miserable, too, just having to hear her inharmonious heavings. What to do about the boo-hoo-moo?

Finally the cat suggests that perhaps Hilda is just lonesome and opines that a cat-and-cow duet would do it, raising the heifer's spirits. Of course, all the other animals want to get into the act, and the would-be vocalists swell into a chorus of volunteers. An audition is held and soon the whole farm is pulsating with solid walls of sound.

But is Hilda happy to low along? Well, no. It seems Hilda has had a mid-career crisis. "I don't think I can really sing," she admits." No kidding?" says the pig, happily removing his prophylactic earplugs at last.

"It's true. I am definitely not a singer. I have the soul of a dancer.

I'm a heifer who's a hoofer!"

Witty wordplay, funny punning, all-out alliteration, rampant rhyming,and plenty of cracking wise are Palatini's trademarks, and as in her earlier hits Piggie Pie!, Zoom Broom ((The Sequel to Piggie Pie)), Bad Boys, and Bedhead,, this latest offering, abetted by Keith Graves' comedic illustrative style, will appeal especially to older picture book readers whose verbal and visual sophistication will find her humor just to their taste.

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