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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Meow said the cow, written and illustrated by Emma Dodd. Scholastic, 2009. $19.99 ages 2 and up

"By now the animals
all could tell
that Cat was behind
this beastly spell!
They were all feeling
a little bit cross.
"it's time to show that
cat who's boss!""

Who doesn't love a trickster tale? Kids will laugh out loud when they read, or listen to, this amusing story about a spell-casting Cat who's had it with all the early morning noise on the farm. Thanks to Cat's grasp of magic the Rooster gets a rude awakening himself the next morning.

It seems that Rooster is not the only recipient of the spell's magic. As the farmyard awakens, with no help from the squeaking that comes from the rooster's beak, all the animals find themselves speaking an unfamiliar language. The pigs are clucking, the chickens oinking, the sheep are barking and the only sound that will come out of the Sheepdog's mouth is a loud 'BAA'.  Kids will love the muddle and eagerly join in with farmyard sounds of their own. You can just imagine the fun!

The artwork is as chaotic as the barnyard racket, with strong textures, bright colors, varied perspectives and expressive digitally rendered animals, all confused by their situation. The text is boldly shown encouraging much noise from the listening audience. When it all becomes too much to bear, Cat knows he's in BIG trouble. As he is chased from the farm and treed by the angry and embarrassed animals, he knows it's time for a change. The spell is undone!

No one is more surprised than Cat when sunrise brings warmth and light to the farmyard the following morning. It is poetic justice!

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