cover image MOMMIES SAY SHHH!


Patricia Polacco, . . Philomel, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-399-24341-7

Polacco takes readers back to the land of the busy, barefoot and babushka-clad villagers last visited in Oh, Look! , although this time the results are less satisfying. A passel of children gambols through rolling farmland, delighting in the distinctive sounds of woodland and farm animals. Most of the encounters have a soupçon of magic in them. A boy goes nose to nose with a squirrel on a branch ("Squirrels say Chee, chee, chee"); a group of industrious girls find they can pull knitting yarn right out of a sheep's coat ("Sheep say baa, baa, baa"). Given all this racket, the fact that "bunnies say nothing at all" seems quite remarkable; in fact, Polacco turns that observation into a kind of counterpoint refrain ("Geese say honk, honk, honk./ Bunnies say nothing at all"). And where do mommies fit into this picture? They make a pretty impressive sound, too—especially when noisy animals might wake up a sleeping baby. Once again, Polacco does a beautiful job of visually presenting her world—readers may well embrace her radiant renderings and happy-go-lucky familiar characters. But in spite of all the energy expended within the pages (Polacco loves to show people and animals running hither and yon in full stride), readers may miss her usual narrative momentum. Though wonderfully realized, the pictures feel more like set pieces than images that build on one another. Ages 3-up. (Feb.)