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Great Source Summer Success Reading


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About the Author

Margie Palatini is the author of many outrageously funny books for children, including Piggie Pie!, illustrated by Howard Fine; Moosetache, Mooseltoe, and the Bad Boys series, all illustrated by Henry Cole; The Cheese, illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher; No Biting, Louise, illustrated by Matthew Reinhart; and Gorgonzola, illustrated by Tim Bowers. She lives with her family in New Jersey. Keith Graves is the author and illustrator of many of his own zany titles, including The Unexpectedly Bad Hair of Barcelona Smith, Three Nasty Gnarlies, Uncle Blubbafink's Seriously Ridiculous Stories, and Frank Was a Monster Who Wanted to Dance. He lives with his family in Texas.


When the cow Hilda Mae Heifer gets hit on the head by a flying cow pie, she wakes up clueless about the sound she's supposed to make. To the rest of the barnyard animals, that's no real tragedy. In fact, the general directive prior to her accident has been "Cover your ears when Hilda hit[s] a high note." But poor Hilda's quest to recover her sound seems to bring out the animals' benevolent side. Upon hearing the cow trying out his honk, a goose dons nerdy glasses, grabs a pointer and some visual aids, and lectures Hilda on what she is not. "Do you fly to Canada every year?" he says, map in tow. The pig, less successfully, tries to suggest that if Hilda were porcine she would most certainly have relatives who were "big boars"; Hilda thinks, "Maybe that did describe some members of her family." Palatini (Piggie Pie!) maintains a simultaneously arch and familiar tone throughout, narrating like a daffy relative, and Graves's (Frank Was a Monster Who Wanted to Dance) illustrations goose the jokes even more. His pictures-and his portrayal of the magnificently pink-snouted Hilda in particular-take on a corpulent plasticity. As for Hilda, she does indeed get her moo back. "Everyone else," writes Palatini, "got earplugs." Ages 4-7. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

PreS-Gr 2-When Hilda Mae Heifer gets knocked on the noggin by a cow pie, she wakes up without her "moo." She meets a series of barnyard animals and tries imitating each one. They all tell her she's a cow and ask her questions to prove that she is not their kin, yet she is still "not convinced that mooing was what she should be doing." A cat finally gets her back to normal, and Hilda resumes her loud, off-key mooing, while "everyone else got earplugs." The lost-voice premise is not a new one, but Palatini's way with words and Graves's slightly manic artwork instill the characters and setting with freshness and humor. Strong rhythms, occasional rhymes ("You're no swine. You're bovine"), and a variety of puns ("Are your relatives big boars?") liven up the narrative. The illustrations are filled with purples, blues, and gray-greens, lending a fantastical aura to the farmyard world. The switch to white backgrounds when each creature quizzes the cow paces the tale neatly. Hilda's absurdly prominent purplish nostrils and her enthusiastically goofy facial expressions are right on target. The scholarly goose and the rest of the animal cast each have distinct looks. The vigorous energy of author and artist makes this otherwise basic tale a good choice for reading aloud, or for one-on-one sharing.-Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

"Palatini...maintains a[n]...arch and familiar tone throughout...and Graves's...illustrations goose the jokes even more."--Publishers Weekly
"More verbal paradiddles from the Principessa of Puns and Wordfoolery."--Kirkus Reviews
"This overenthusiastic if daft bovine is certain to become a beloved storytime star..."--The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
..".Palatini's way with words and Graves's slightly manic artwork instill the characters and setting with freshness and humor."--School Library Journal

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