If ever there was a children's book to set the standard for the perfect pairing of storytelling and illustrations, it would have to be "Moo!" by David LaRochelle. What sets this book apart from its predecessors is the clever humor and pacing established by big, bold illustrations and very few words. "Moo!" is a simple story about a cow grazing in a field. All of a sudden, it notices that the farmer has put out a bright red car for sale. The cow has an idea to take the car for a joyride. Although the ride starts out peacefully, the cow gets a little carried away and eventually crashes...right on top of a police car! The loveable farm animal pleads with the officer, explaining very emphatically what has happened. The officer sends the cow back to pasture, only to find the farmer waiting impatiently. Instead of an admission of guilt, the cow pins the crime on an unsuspecting sheep. Quite a detailed plot for a story that literally only uses six words!

The storytelling comes not from words, but from illustrations full of motion and expression. Readers must use picture clues to bring this story to life. Illustrator Mike Wohnoutka perfectly captures every emotion as the story progresses. Readers will see the cow as blissful, curious, impulsive, carefree, frightened, guilty, regretful, and mischievous. It may also seem surprising that "Moo!" makes an amazing read-aloud. Parents and teachers will soak up the chance to read the role of the cow in this story. It provides many opportunities to change voice inflection. The reader is guided through cow's zany adventure by punctuation, word size and word position.

David LaRochelle's "Moo!" has been awarded several honors, including an ALA Notable Children's Book for 2014, a Junior Library Guild Selection, the Minnesota Book Award, and the Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy Bell Picture Book Award. Other popular titles by David LaRochelle, include "The Best Pet of All" and "The Haunted Hamburger and Other Ghostly Tales." Illustrator Mike Wohnoutka's newest book is coming this Fall, entitled "Little Puppy and the Big Green Monster."

 

Recommended by Jennifer Carter

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