cover image Me and My Animal Friends

Me and My Animal Friends

Ralph Covert, , illus. by Laurie Keller. . Holt/Ottaviano, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-8736-9

Popular kids' musician Covert (Ralph's World Rocks! ) adapts another of his catchy songs in this outing about kids longing for a pet. Two children enthusiastically list the plethora of critters that would make great animal friends—“A gecko and a goose and a humpback whale”—interspersed with the attendant pleas (“Oh, please, pretty please, from the bottom of my heart to the top of my head”) and promises (“I'll be really, really good and you know I would feed 'em all day and at night I'd tuck 'em all in their beds”) one would expect. A jaunty rhyme scheme and fun wordplay (“Ocelots and lots of sloths and fleas”) keep the story bouncing, while the typography's size and color play up the pleading. Keller (The Scrambled States of America ) depicts a zany menagerie in kinetic mixed media artwork that's bursting with fun details; keen-eyed readers will spot photos of Covert's face playfully worked into each spread. Keller seamlessly extends the text to create a true family dynamic, as Mom and Dad adamantly protest “Noooooo” early on, but relent in the end. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)