cover image Flea's Sneeze

Flea's Sneeze

Lynn Downey. Henry Holt & Company, $17.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-6103-1

The rollicking rhythms and kid-pleasing repetition of Downey's (Sing, Henrietta! Sing!) rhyming verse recommend this perky volume for a lighthearted read-aloud. In a tumbledown barn, all the animals sleep peacefully, except a tiny flea, who coughs, sniffles and utters a plaintive plea to his snoring pals, ""Does eddybody hab a tissue for be?"" Finally, he issues an enormous sneeze that manages to rouse the menagerie: ""It scared the rat,/ Who cried `Boohoo!'/ And woke the cat,/ Who hissed `Mairoo!'/ It baffled the bat,/ Whose eyes turned blue,/ And confused the cow,/ Who muttered `Moo Moo!' "" After the mouse (whom ""the flea used for a house"") produces a tissue, all settle back to sleep, save the hog (""No one heard his garbled wheeze,/ `I think I'b godda sdeeze'""). Debut illustrator Firehammer's acrylic art shows the slumbering cast in humorous poses: on various spreads, the frog sleeps atop a dog who is curled up on the back of the hog, the bat hangs upside-down from the cow's tail and the owl stands on one leg as it dozes on a windowsill. Even better, their positions change from one spread to the next. Preschoolers will eagerly point out each animal with the repeat mentions of the barn's residents. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)