Moo in the Morning

Barbara Maitland, Author, Andrew Kulman, Illustrator
Barbara Maitland, Author, Andrew Kulman, Illustrator Farrar Straus Giroux $16 (32p) ISBN 978-0-374-35038-3
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Maitland (The Bookstore Ghost) offers a subtle message about appreciating one's home, and Kulman's (Red Light Stop, Green Light Go) artwork weaves in themes that connect the commonalities between city and country. The opening spread shows the city waking as the child narrator and his or her mother look out the windows of their high-rise apartment house and a red mother bird, opposite, feeds her chicks atop another urban building. In the midst of all the ""whirring, crunching, screeching..."" of the city, represented by cars, bikes and inline skaters racing across the spread and the text printed in similarly arcing and weaving lines, the child's mother yearns for the peace of the country. Maitland slows the pace as the two head to Uncle Jack's farm, where ""there's a pond to swim in and a barn to hide in"" and the night is dark and quiet. But at the crack of dawn, cows moo, roosters crow, and birds, hens, sheep and tractors create a rural cacophony for which Kulman's largely horizontal compositions and sweeping type treatments wryly conjure earlier spreads of pell-mell city sights and sounds. The pair return to their city home with a new respect for its quiet moments. With the clever repetition of crescendo and decrescendo in the text, and a judicious use of visual repetition, author and artist demonstrate that what once might have been an irritant can be comforting in the end. Ages 2-5. (Aug.)
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