The Animal Song

Random House Studio. Jan. 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593381465.
PreS-Gr 1–When their animal friends hibernate for the winter, a talented trio of performers decides to keep the music going. With each Snap, Poom-Poom, and Jingle-Jangle, the crocodile-bear-weasel band discovers that they no longer have an audience. Instead of hunkering down for the winter themselves, they decide to move their music to town, where they find eager listeners. When spring comes, the three friends are exhausted and ready for a long nap, while the rest of the forest wonders where the music has gone. This simple and sweet tale is well patterned with a refrain that younger readers will adopt. The catchy tune that accompanies the story is the strongest element of this offering and will have young listeners singing along in no time. Throughout the text, the rhyme scheme often feels forced and the rhythm is also affected in a few places by awkward page layout. In addition, even students that are intrigued with the premise might be confused by the presence of a crocodile in the forest, as well as animals that play both natural and anthropomorphized roles. Themes of hibernation, friendship, and the power of music, however, could make this a solid read-aloud for younger audiences.
VERDICT Despite some flaws, this will pair nicely with the original song for a music-themed story time.

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