Shakespeare knew it, and parents and other adults know it: People love a comedy of errors. Perhaps the most delighted audience is the youngest; toddlers love hearing mistakes and correcting them. It's a surefire hit for their certain sense of humor, and Sandra Boynton exploits this beautifully in this small board book.
Just a few set-up lines and Boynton is ready for the book's main joke:
"A cow says MOO."
"A sheep says BAA."
"Three singing pigs say LA LA LA!"
"'No, no!' you say, 'that isn't right.
The pigs say OINK all day and night.'"
Practice your dramatic abilities and really ham it up (pun intended) when you read the singing pigs and "that isn't right" lines on pages 3 and 4. There's also some action (dogs chasing cats), and a nice quizzical conclusion: ("It's quiet now. What do you [underlined] say?")
Boynton's familiar style is whimsical and slightly tongue-in-cheek. Her animals have very expressive, human-looking emotions, conveyed mostly through the eyes. For example, a quacking duck and a neighing horse aren't intrinsically very interesting, but when they're facing each other with similarly baffled faces, there's a subtle humor. The singing pigs, by the way, are anything but subtle. They're pizzazed out in coordinating striped pants, solid sports coats, and elegant white bow ties. They excited pigs dance in unison and hold canes in a showy vaudeville style. For a short and simple board book aimed at the very young, this is lots of fun. For older toddlers, take a look at Boynton's counting book with a difference: "Hippos Go Berserk!" She knows and loves her animals, and so will your little one.