cover image Mice Squeak, We Speak

Mice Squeak, We Speak

Arnold L. Shapiro. Putnam Publishing Group, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-23202-2

Simplicity is the soul of Shapiro's toddler-friendly poem about the different ways that animals and humans communicate (""Pigs squeal. Horses neigh. Chickens cluck. But I SAY!""). It's also at the heart of dePaola's crayon-bright artwork, a model of merry restraint. Along with a trio of the artist's trademark images of chunky, round-headed children (multicultural of course), the animals (and their sounds) are each depicted in a series of gaily bordered portraits that include just enough detail to suggest each critter's habitat--a cozy rag rug for a tabby cat, a tree for a monkey, a muddy field for a pig. The spareness of line is carried over into the festive borders, which embellish the pages with polka dots, squiggles and zigzags set against backdrops in fresh shades of kiwi, cantaloupe, lemon and watermelon colors. A treat for the eye, this one is sure to delight during lap-time snuggles or preschool story hours--and may well coax a baa or moo or two from the littlest ones. Ages 2-6. (Sept.)