I have a soft spot for delightful books about animals, especially when they include animal sounds (onomatopoeia). During my recent trip to the library, I came across two memorable selections—an old one (This and That) and a new one (Baby Says “Moo!”). Both are perfect for reading out loud to little ones.
Baby Says “Moo!” (ages infant-3) by JoAnn Early Macken
People wave and smile as Baby rolls along in the grocery store. Mommy asks, “Baby, what do people say?” Baby responds with “Moo!” Mommy tells him:
People say moo?
That can’t be so.
Everybody knows that
people day hello.
A cow says moo,
sure as you’re my bunny.
Where’d you ever find
an idea so funny.
As the young family travels on their day trip, they encounter a bird, a cat, a horse, and a dog. Each time Mommy ask Baby what the animal says. The baby always answers, “Moo!” Mommy gently corrects the baby with cumulative poetic rhyming stanzas that include the correct animal sound. Finally, as they arrive in the country, they spot an animal, white and black. The family is so excited to show the baby the cow. They ask, “Baby, what do cows say?” This time, he correctly says “Moo!” Baby Says “Moo!” has a great rhythm and rhyme. There are some key repetitive words and phrases, ideal for reader-listener interaction and child participation. Bright pictures stand out on a white background. The text and illustrations capture well this developmental stage and loving family interactions.
This and That (ages 2-8) by Julie Sykes and Tonya Linch
On the farm, Cat wakes up early. She has lots of work to do. She comes across Horse, grazing in the field. Cat greets him and asks to borrow his stable. Horse neighs a “Yes,” He wants to know what she will use it for. “This and that,” purrs the cat. Cat visits Pig, Goat, Sheep, Hen, Cow, and Donkey, each time requesting something from them and following the same format as the meeting with Horse. The animals happy concede, but they curiously inquire what she needs the items for. Of course, the response is always vague and nonchalant, “This and that.” All the animals wonder why Cat is acting so strangely. They creep over to the barn and peer in to see…two little kittens! The animals are all abuzz with excitement. Everyone wants to know their names. Cat says, “I don’t know, I can’t decide. What do you think?" In unison, the animals say, “We know…This and That.” The textured paper collage illustrations are playful and expressive. They depict live on the farm in a vibrant manner. The patterned narrative is sure to engage young listeners and readers. This and That is a brilliant and delightful read.