Monday, December 5, 2011

The TTLG 2011 Picture Book Celebration: Book three hundred and thirty-nine

There are times when we have to do what is expected of us. We have to work, we have to pay our taxes, we have to go to the dentist. Then there are those time when we perhaps should do what is expected, but we don't because it just doesn't feel right. We are invited to go to a posh party, and instead of wearing a boring a black tuxedo we wear a purple suit with a red bow tie. Why not? 

In today's picture book you will meet a group of animals who decide that instead of saying what is expected, they are going to say what they want to say. So there!

Fiona Robinson
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 6
Abrams, 2011, 978-0-8109-8976-4
   Professor Timberteeth, conductor extraordinaire, is presenting his new song “What animals like most” to the public for the first time. So, get comfortable, settle back in your seat, and prepare yourself for a great performance.
  The curtain opens and there are all the animal performers, carefully dressed in suits and elegant dresses. Professor Timberteeth raises his baton and soon the lions are singing about how they “like to prowl,” and the wolves are crooning about how they “like to howl.” All goes well until the cows decide that they like to “dig” instead of to moo.
   After a few moments of discussion, Professor Timberteeth is able to resume the song, and for a few more bars everything is at it should be. Until the warthogs sing that they like to “blow bubbles.” The poor conductor gets quite flustered because once again these words are not the ones that are supposed to be in the song. His performers are not singing what they are supposed to be singing, and his song is falling to pieces before our eyes. What is this poor professor going to do? Will he insist on performing his song his way, or will he let the animals tell us what they really like?
   Young readers will find it hard not to laugh as they read this clever and unique picture book. Who can resist a story that is hijacked by the characters, and that demonstrates to great effect that some animals (and people) simply cannot be forced to conform. Readers are sure to be delighted when they see how the professor gets several big surprises at the end of the performance. Encore, encore!

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