LAROCHELLE, David. Moo! illus. by Mike Wohnoutka. 40p. Walker. Sept. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-80273-409-9; lib. ed. $17.89. ISBN 978-0-8027-3410-5.
PreS-Gr 2–There are only a handful of words in this book; the most important one is “Moo.” Punctuation, repetition, and rhythm give it multiple meanings as readers turn the pages, which are joyfully illustrated with splashy gouache primary colors. It is hard to imagine a more expressive cow than this title’s cartoon bovine. On the first page, the cow has a contented, peaceful moo. Turn a page, and she has an inquisitive, “Moo?” when she sees a car for sale; soon enough, she’s on a joyride up and down the hillsides. The cow is the focus of each bright, borderless spread, and some pages include comedic close-ups of her face. The word “moo” appears on most spreads in a variety of font sizes, from tiny to gigantic, depending on the emotion of the moment. Children will laugh at the use of type and the artful arrangement of letters to convey action and sound. For example, when the cow drives off a cliff, her moo arcs up and then loops down, indicating the rise and fall of her bellow. For many children, this book will be their first introduction to punctuation. Even the very young will see how exclamation points and dashes can create a choppy, nervous feeling when the cow is confronted by a police officer. This book is bold, original, and funny, and should be part of every picture-book collection.–Jess deCourcy Hinds, Bard High School Early College, Queens, NY