cover image Looking for a Moose

Looking for a Moose

Phyllis Root, , illus. by Randy Cecil. . Candlewick, $15.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-2005-9

With an infectious assertion—"We've never, ever, ever, ever, ever seen a moose. And we really, really, really, really want to see a moose"—four children go in search of the elusive beast. As the quartet pokes in the woods, wades in swamps and peers in the bushes, Root (Big Momma Makes the World ) takes ample opportunity for rhythmic wordplay: "We scrape through the bushes—scritch scratch! scritch scratch! —the brambly-ambly, bunchy-scrunchy, scrubby-shrubby bushes." The search finally takes them to a rocky hillside, where a whole passel of comically deadpan moose await ("We've never, ever, ever seen so many moose!"). The payoff isn't entirely satisfying, however, because author and illustrator do not seem entirely in sync. Cecil's (My Father the Dog ) stubby-legged, potato-faced moose-seekers are cute and comically intent, but the expressionistic landscapes, with their subtly mottled textures and muted palette of greens and browns, put a visual damper on the silly proceedings. Still, children should enjoy seeing the diminutive cast confidently scrambling over hill and dale, and sharp-eyed readers will get a kick out of spotting various clues (e.g., skinny tree trunks with hooves) that the moose have actually been following the party all along. Age 3-5. (Sept.)