cover image And the Cow Said Moo!

And the Cow Said Moo!

Mildred Phillips. Greenwillow Books, $15.95 (24pp) ISBN 978-0-688-16802-5

A young calf's insistent question--""Say Moo! Say Moo! If I say Moo, why don't you?""--is the premise for an appealing collection of barnyard babble. What starts with the sheep's sanguine reply ("" `We B-a-a-a,' said the sheep. `That's what sheep do' "") builds to a repeated round of animal sounds. With the noises in boldface type and a simple rhyming frame, the text makes for a rollicking read, but it unfortunately leads to the worn moral ""I'm glad I am me and I'm glad you are you."" Lamut's (Alex and the Cat) softly colored spreads feature almost cartoonish barnyard characters with bright eyes and exaggerated facial expressions. Most successful are the background vignettes as each animal is introduced, shown in its own habitat (ducks in a pond, an owl in a tree); the creatures here are realistic and convincing. But the artwork becomes a hodgepodge when the calf begins contemplating what it would mean if the animals began making one another's noises. Lamut portrays these musings as a bestiary of pig-headed horses and sheep-headed dogs--which may leave children confused and adults with some explaining to do. Ages 3-up. (May)