There's Nothing to D-O-O-O!
Judith Mathews. Harcourt Children's Books, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-201647-0
This aimless tale centers on Laloo, a restless calf who utters the title's lament to her mother, Mamoo. The cow's response (""Chew your cud.... Count your stomachs as the green grass travels through you. Have a daydream under the tree. That's what cows d-o-o-o"") doesn't satisfy Laloo, who slips through a broken fence and runs away. As she wanders the countryside, the hot, thirsty and tired young animal continually thinks of home and her mother, yet roams on, insisting, ""But I want something n-e-w."" Mathews's (Nathaniel Willy, Scared Silly) poky plot follows Laloo as she discovers new environments and meets a mouse and raccoon, but nothing ever comes of these encounters; Laloo appears to be apathetic. Cyrus's (Slow Train to Oxmox) effective manipulation of light and perspective gives his watercolor and colored-pencil artwork three-dimensional qualities, especially in scenes of the calf bounding across the hillside in the bright morning sunlight. But even his touching closing images of Mamoo and Laloo reunited can't make up for the emotion missing from the text. Ages 3-6. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/29/1999