cover image Hello, Day!

Hello, Day!

Anita Lobel, . . Greenwillow, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-06-078765-3

It's a beautiful spring day, inspiring the denizens of farm, field and forest to offer up their full-throated version of the title greeting. “The Cow said, 'Moo,' ” proclaims the text opposite a mild-mannered, sloe-eyed cow, her hide glowing with marker-like striations of peach, pink and brown. Like the other nine animals featured, the cow is portrayed in a stylized setting that's positively Edenic, filled with a rainbow of flowers, turquoise water and plump, leafy trees. Lobel (Alison's Zinnia ) doesn't seem to be aiming for a realistic approximation of the sun's transit—in fact, the sky backdrop for the horse portrait (“Neigh”) is an improbable but utterly fetching pink (all the better to set off the gray of the horse's coat). The sun remains a radiant orange ball in an upper corner of each image until the final pages, when it exits dramatically to make room for the moon (here Lobel cues a handsomely dappled owl). The luxuriantly hued, playfully textured portraits will rivet preschoolers and invite them to make animal sounds of their own; the minimal text, set in big, friendly type, may also encourage some simple word recognition. It's a familiar, basic idea, but Lobel makes it as fresh as a morning in May. Ages up to 3. (Apr.)