BooksForKidsBlog

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Say What? Baby Says "Moo" by Jo Ann Walker

BABY TAKES A RIDE THROUGH THE DIZZY BUSY CITY.
WAVES AT A YELLOW BIRD, SINGING PRETTY.

"BABY, WHAT DO BIRDS SAY?
BABY SAYS, "MOO!"

Diligent parents, obviously English majors, make a day of it, introducing Baby to a number of new experiences and especially new words. At the grocery store friendly customers wave at Baby and coo "Hel-lo!" Birds tweet, a cat obligingly says "Me-ow!" Eagerly, the parents prompt Baby to repeat the proper sounds. Baby has one answer, and it's not the right one. Their language lesson seems to be going nowhere! When a horse responds appropriately to his wave right on cue, Baby comes right back with the wrong answer again: "Moo!"

"HORSES SAY MOO? I HAVE TO SAY,
EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT A HORSE SAYS 'NEIGH!'"

Frazzled, the frustrated parents repeat all the right answers--people say "hello," dogs say "Ruff!," cats say "meow!"--and Baby just smiles. "Moo!" is her answer, and she's sticking to it!

At last the thwarted Mom and Dad head the car for home. But what is that critter they see in the field right beside the road? At last it's their chance for this kid to get at least one answer right.

A COW, A COW, WITH SPOTS ON ITS BACK!

WHAT DOES BABY SAY? NOT ONE PEEP.
TUCKERED OUT, BABY IS FAST ASLEEP.

Joann Walker's just published, Baby Says "Moo!" (Hyperion, 2011) is an early education cliffhanger. Will Baby wake just in time to say her line at the right time? With bouncy, Dr. Seuss-like rhyming couplets, Walker's little language lesson will give knowing preschoolers a chuckle as Baby fluffs her lines over and over, almost right down to the final word of this charming little book, and they will be all too happy to chime in on that word as Baby arouses at last to make her parents very happy. David Walker's illustrations, done up in a retro pastel commercial style, are conventionally cute, but don't really do justice to the tongue-in-cheek dramatic tension and potential irony of this well-crafted little language lesson.

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