Gr 1-4--Animal and word lovers alike will enjoy this clever take on homographs, in this case, verbs that are spelled and pronounced like animal names. Each spread features a comical illustration of animals engaged in unusual activities. A short sentence such as "Flounders flounder" or "Dogs dog dogs" appears on the verso, with a definition of the verb on the recto. Thus, yaks yak over tea, quails quail at an imposing dragon kite, bats bat baseballs in a midnight sky, and pairs of slugs slug slugs with red boxing gloves. A final spread offers a chart of the word pairs followed by the derivation of the animal's name as well as that of the action word. In some cases the verb refers to the animal's behavior, such as ape, parrot, and ram. In other cases, one seemingly has nothing to do with the other, as in quail, steer, and kid. The vibrant, amusing watercolor-and-ink illustrations introduce youngsters to some words and animals they may not know. They are occasionally enhanced with funny speech bubbles such as upside down flounders remarking, "I did not mean to do that" or relentless badgers begging an apple, "Be kind...give me the apple...you don't need...[it].... You could stand to lose a few pounds...." or greedy hogs hoarding piles of apples with signs like "MINE ALL MINE!" Other whimsical touches, such as a small fish fishing for The Book of Compliments will offer knowing readers a chuckle. VERDICT An original and fun way to build vocabulary.--Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public SchoolsCopyright 2015 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Perfectly pitched to its audience, this clever introduction to animal-themed homographs also works as a vocabulary lesson and a catchy read-aloud. Park (Xander's Panda Party) and Reinhardt (The Inventor's Secret) make an ideal team as they introduce an array of animals paired with verbs that share their names: "Cranes crane" their elongated necks in one spread, while "Slugs slug slugs" with boxing gloves. "Ack! I'm upside down! I'm upside down!" yells a floundering flounder, and one badger badgers another about the apple it's carrying, his longwinded pleas too big to fit in the speech bubbles above his head. Things only get wilder as "bats bat" during a midair baseball game, cows drive bumper cars ("Steers steer"), and a ram accidentally rams a duck, forcing the ducks on the following page to, well, you get the idea. Succinct definitions are tucked into the illustrations ("to crow = to boast"), and back matter offers etymological notes about the animal names and verbs. Gleeful linguistic fun that kids will wolf down. Ages 4-7. Author's agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown. Illustrator's agent: Marietta Zacker, Nancy Gallt Literary Agency. (Mar.)Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.